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Why isn’t Tennessee Edge Darrell Taylor a higher-rated NFL draft prospect?

One SEC pass rusher is 6-foot-4, 267 pounds and had 8 or more sacks each of the past two seasons while avoiding major injury.

The other SEC pass rusher is 6-foot-3, 254 pounds and had a combined 9.5 sacks in three seasons, one of which was cut short due to a serious injury.

And yet, Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor is widely regarded as more of a Round 2 or Round 3 player, while LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson is projected to be drafted in Round 1.

Why the discrepancy?

Eric Edholm, NFL draft analyst for Yahoo Sports, explains:

“Taylor’s most alluring pass-rush trait is his ability to carve the edge with great balance and burst. The redshirt senior also flashes an effective long-arm rush move — a la Khalil Mack — with power and leverage, and he has shown active hands (eight career forced fumbles) when attacking QBs. Watching Taylor get physical with the SEC’s brawnier right tackles is enjoyable and promising for his NFL eval.”

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tack Tack Tack Tack Tack Def Fumb Fumb
Year School Class G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk PD FR FF
*2015 Tennessee FR
*2016 Tennessee FR 5 6 3 9 1.0 0.0 1 0 0
2017 Tennessee SO 9 14 13 27 4.5 3.0 2 1 2
2018 Tennessee JR 11 27 9 36 11.0 8.0 0 2 3
*2019 Tennessee SR 13 28 18 46 10.0 8.5 4 1 1
Career Tennessee 75 43 118 26.5 19.5 7 4 6
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/10/2020.
The problems, Edholm says, are Taylor’s ability to stop the run along with missed tackles and footwork. Taylor, like Chaisson, also didn’t participate in the on-field work after surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.

Edholm also points to character concerns.

“Taylor is a boom-bust prospect with a high ceiling, but he needs to realize that the details, including film study and practice habits, could be the difference between that happening,” Edholm writes.

Taylor is currently ranked as the No. 82 overall prospect in the latest Fanspeak-Steve big board.



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