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2017 NFL Draft: Taywan Taylor Scouting Report

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NCAA Football: Western Kentucky at Miami (Ohio) Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Player name: Taywan Taylor

H/W: 5'11 203

Position: Wide Receiver

School / Class: Western Kentucky / Senior

Measureables: 4.50 40, 33.5" vertical, 132" broad, 6.57 3 cone (best for position at Combine)

The Tape

2016 vs Memphis

2016 vs La Tech

2016 vs Vanderbilt

2016 vs MTSU

2016 vs Alabama

Strengths:

  • Versatility - Taylor has played both inside and outside with great success throughout his career. A perfect slot weapon but can play outside receiver if necessary. Has enough quickness and agility to do both spots with very little drop off in play. A willing competitor across the middle.
  • Athleticism - He has a lot of it. Processes the open holes very quickly. He can flip his hips on a dime. His footwork is among the best in the class. Can separate from the defender with elite footwork quickly. Ran an above average 4.50 in the 40 yard dash. Game speed is a lot quicker than what he ran in Indy. Was among the best in his position group in the three cone drill. Has the speed to get away to put up a crooked number in terms of after catch yards. Lateral agility is a plus. Footwork is also a plus. Can accelerate and decelerate in a burst. In terms of short yardage burst ability, he's one of the best in the class.
  • Route Running / Football IQ- Although Western Kentucky's basic offensive premise was based off screens and shorter routes, Taylor ran them to near perfection. WKU targeted him on the deeper routes on occasion so it's not a total loss in that department. Where he stands out is the ability to quickly diagnose coverages and uses his athleticism to exploit weaknesses. Excellent at varying the depth of his routes to fool defenders but always has an awareness of the sticks. I noticed that he was really adept at getting separation in and out of the route breaks. There were plenty of times when he completely fooled the defender with a simple plant and went off to the races. Like an offensive lineman going to the second level, he actively searches for additional defenders to set up for deeper routes.
  • J-Rob’s Favorite Word - If you look up J-Rob's picture in the dictionary, it's next to the word, production. It's probably the password on his computer / laptop/ whatever it is kids are into these days (maybe). Taylor had a standout Hilltoppers career, posting a respectable 253 receptions for 4,234 yards and 41 touchdowns. He improved his numbers every year but turned it on during his junior and senior years, going no less than 1400 yards both times. Was the entire WKU offense at times.

Weaknesses

  • Hands - I've noticed that he doesn't consistently catch the balls with his hands. Very much a body catcher type. Needs to improve in that area or it will become a problem making a catch against bigger defenders. In the multiple games that I watched him, he has a tendency to lose focus on the deep shots and drop the ball. The inconsistent hands are a big negative in his game. Needs to work on the hands.
  • Blocking - The antithesis of Corey Davis in this department. He doesn't give much of an effort most times, just happy to merely touch the defender. Granted, it's not first thing I look for in a receiver but it's a big part of what the Titans management expects from their receivers. Taylor, either by size or lack of desire to do so is sorely lacking in blocking. Inconsistent blocker.
  • Physicality - He's a willing competitor over the middle but his general lack of size hurts him when he has to make the tough catch. I give him a ton of credit for trying but the size thing is a real life issue. The question is, can he consistently go over the middle and go up to outmuscle the defender? From the games that I watched, he has issues adjusting to having to make a tough catch of an errant throw.

Notes

The Western Kentucky watching experience was much more enjoyable due to an actual competent Division 1 QB at the helm. I watched the Bama game last because I wanted to see if the box score matched what I saw originally when I watched the game live (I watched a ton of this game because SEC friends and all that). The lack of competition thing is a farce. He dominated the Crimson Tide stacked secondary like they were a bunch of middle school kids. Also dominated against "bigger" schools as well. Taylor has an immediate bond with Jack Conklin as they were both 0 star recruits who made something of themselves.

Final Summary:

Yes, I do like the pick (not solely because I had wrote about him in the past, either). While Taylor won't be asked to do much if any outside work, he'll be a perfect slot weapon for Marcus Mariota. Is it all roses for him? No, it is not. He needs further development as a receiver, particularly his hands and blocking. He knows what he is and executes his role very well. He was great in the 1 on 1 portion of Senior Bowl practices so that's a good sign that big time competition doesn't faze him. TT has enough explosive burst to take the top off of any defense. I expect him to fill the Harry Douglas job of getting randomly timed PI calls to start. He's a perfect complementary weapon to have in the third receiver duties. Will he need some time to get adjusted to an NFL offense i.e. a full route tree? Likely. He's a great addition as not many receivers has his type of speed and footwork to boot. The Titans will finally realize the potentoil of what the recently departed Kendall Wright could've been in Taylor. J-Rob (or at least the scouts do) reads my stuff! (ok, not really)

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