Going into the offseason, the Falcons have a huge need for pass rushers. They’ve decided not to pursue a new contract with Vic Beasley (a year too late, if you ask me) and Adrian Clayborn is set to hit free agency. As a result, Dan Quinn and staff are doing their due diligence to interview and scout quite a few edge rushers to add to the roster. Let’s take a quick look at one they’ve reportedly had their eye on: Darrell Taylor.
Taylor had a productive season for the Tennessee Volunteers in 2019, with 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. He also showed some versatility as a Linebacker while playing for the Volunteers. He showed steady progression with more snaps starting in 2017 and proved to be a vital piece of the Volunteer’s defense. Taylor also has versatility to play on an even or odd front.
- Has the physical traits you’d want in an EDGE at the NFL level at 6’4”, 267 lbs
- Does well at the point of attack due to his good play strength
- Good athletic traits for the position and shows versatility to play on the line or in space
- Has good explosiveness off the line to be able to threaten OTs with speed
- Very good ability to bend the edge
- Willing to set the edge in the run game
- Very underdeveloped as a pass rusher
- Has no clear plan to rush the QB
- Rush is easily stalled once the OT gets his hands on him
- Slow out of the blocks when the ball is snapped and has issues timing the snap
- From what I’ve seen, doesn’t have that signature pass rush move you look for
- Needs to work on developing his hands to become an effective pass rusher at the next level
Taylor has all the physical attributes and athleticism you’d want in a pass rusher in the NFL. However, he needs lots of work in regards to his approach to being a pass rusher, along with developing his hands to disengage from blockers.
He’s like a moldable piece of clay (sound familiar?), and will likely require lots of work to be effective at the next level. Taylor is a prospect you draft to sit and develop that could possible be ready in year 2 or 3, something the Falcons might be interested in if they hit up free agency for useful veteran edge rushers in the meantime.
If the Falcons take a different route in the 1st round, Taylor could well be on the board as a Day 2 pick. Just don’t expect him to be immediately impactful for Atlanta.