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Up, Down or Stay: Tennessee Edge Darrell Taylor could be a Round 3 steal

Darrell Taylor is coming off two very good years against some of the top competition in football while playing at a highly coveted position. At 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, his height and weight put him in elite company among outside linebackers, where the Tennessee senior ranked in the 93rd and 98th percentiles, respectively (Mockdraftable).

He’s got NFL-ready play strength, shows good burst and sets a good edge.

And yet, most mock drafts still have Taylor landing somewhere in the Day 3 range, despite a perceived lack of quality pass rushers in this draft.

What gives?

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2015 Tennessee SEC FR DL
*2016 Tennessee SEC FR DL 5 6 3 9 1.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0
2017 Tennessee SEC SO DL 9 14 13 27 4.5 3.0 0 0 0 2 1 2
2018 Tennessee SEC JR LB 11 27 9 36 11.0 8.0 0 0 0 0 2 3
*2019 Tennessee SEC SR LB 13 28 18 46 10.0 8.5 0 0 0 4 1 1
Career Tennessee 75 43 118 26.5 19.5 0 0 0 7 4 6

It starts with some of the basics: getting off the line of scrimmage faster, a perceived lack of pass rush moves, questions about his ability to stop the run, and general technique.

From NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:

“The toolbox has plenty in it, but additional development as a pass rusher might be the difference between functional backup or dangerous starter.”

However, one draft analyst says Taylor could be rising up draft boards.

“If you want first-step quickness at the edge-rusher position and can’t get a first-rounder like Chase Young, Darrell Taylor is a worthy developmental player in Round 3,” wrote The Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller in his latest Scouting Notebook.

“When evaluating pass-rushers, it’s easy to get caught up looking at stats or body type, but more often than not, the best determining factor of success is quickness and speed off the edge. Taylor has plenty of that. He was inconsistent during his Tennessee career and needs to be coached up, but his raw traits are as exciting as any rusher in this class not named Chase Young.”

That’s high praise for a player most analysts still peg as a Round 3 prospect.

Furthermore, with the lack of depth at the Edge position after Ohio State’s Chase Young, Taylor could hear his name called even earlier.

Hoping your team can still nab Taylor with a third-round pick? That might be too late.


Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.

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