2012 NFL Draft: Why Brandon Taylor Is Perfect Fit for New Orleans Saints
Taylor played for the LSU Tigers in college and has three years of starting experience. Taylor has shown that he can play well at a high level and that he has all of the intangibles to play at the next level.
The Saints currently have Malcolm Jenkins, Roman Harper, Isa Abdul-Quddus and Jonathan Amaya on the roster at the safety positions. However, Spagnuolo loves to use three safeties in his scheme at times, and another safety could not hurt the Saints, especially a player like Taylor.
Harper has struggled in coverage in the past, and if that is still the case in Spagnuolo's defense, then the Saints may have to find a replacement anyway. Even if Harper is allowed to stay, Taylor can come in and immediately be the No. 3 safety on the team.
Taylor is projected to go somewhere around the fifth round in the 2012 NFL draft, and the Saints can certainly find a way to pick him.
Let's take a look at four reasons why Taylor would be a perfect fit for the Saints.
Brandon Taylor has been one of LSU's biggest leaders since joining the team in 2008.
One of LSU's newest traditions is the passing down of the No. 18 jersey. It started with Matt Mauck during his time with LSU, and he chose to pass his jersey on to fullback/running back Jacob Hester.
The passing down of the jersey has continued and in 2012, it reached Taylor. Typically, the former player wearing No. 18 and head coach Les Miles decide who gets to wear the jersey in the next year.
Miles and players decide who gets the jersey based not only on football talent, but how well the player represents the team. It speaks volumes to Taylor's leadership abilities that he was chosen to wear the coveted No. 18 jersey at LSU.
The New Orleans Saints are a team filled with leaders, and head coach Sean Payton does not tolerate second-rate attitude from his players. The Saints locker room is one of the best in the NFL, and Taylor would help improve that mark.
Any player that is drafted more than likely has the skills and talents to contribute to an NFL team, but leadership often takes a player over the top.
Brandon Taylor has four years of experience in playing SEC football with the LSU Tigers.
He made starts in the 2009 and 2010 season, and started all 13 games in the 2011 season. Needless to say, Taylor was very productive throughout his LSU career.
In 2011, he led the Tigers in tackles and was one of the defensive captains.
Taylor has proven that he can make plays against the run, but is also very capable against the pass. This is something that the Saints desperately need in their secondary.
Taylor's best game in 2011 came against Tennessee, when he tallied up 10 total tackles. He finished the season with 71 tackles, in 13 games. This means that if Taylor would have played a 16-game season, like in the NFL, he would finished with around 87 tackles.
That would have been good enough to be in the top 25 safeties in the league in tackles last year. It also would have only been eight fewer than Roman Harper.
Not that any of the hypothetical things truly count, but Taylor has proven in college that he can play at a high level.
The best part of Taylor's game is that he can play physical, like Harper, but he can also cover against the pass.
In 2011, Taylor showed time and time again that he is not afraid to come up and make big tackles on players that are 20 pounds heavier than him. However, Taylor has played well against opposing tight ends and running backs, showing that he has the abilities to make plays down the field.
Taylor also has the ability to take on the defensive quarterback role. Teams typically want a middle linebacker to have that role, but Taylor has shown that he can align the defense if necessary.
The simple fact is that Taylor has every attribute needed to play on the highest level in the NFL.
Experience Against Top Competition
One of Brandon Taylor’s biggest features is that he has played against top competition throughout his entire college career.
While playing with LSU, Taylor was responsible for covering some of the top running backs and tight ends in the country. In 2011, Taylor showed that he was capable of taking down the top running back in the country with how well he played against Alabama’s Trent Richardson.
The Saints would undoubtedly love to have a safety that has already shown that he can play very well against top-quality opponents. The strong safety of the Saints would definitely have to play against some of the best tight ends in the country, and Taylor can do that.
The NFC South has tight ends like Kellen Winslow, Tony Gonzalez, Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen. Taylor would likely be responsible for covering these guys. I have no doubt that he can do so, based on his past performances.
Not only has Taylor played against top-quality players, but he has yet to reach anywhere close to his full potential.
With how well this kid has already played, it will be exciting to see what he is able to do at the next level.
The Saints are known for taking guys in late rounds and turning them into NFL starters, and Taylor can definitely turn into one of those guys.
Brandon Taylor is a player that will come into any NFL team and immediately contribute.
He has the potential to become a starter in his first year, but he will definitely be a contributor on special teams.
Fans oftentimes underestimate the value of a great special teams player, and Taylor has the ability to be a dominant force in that area.
Taylor has ran as fast as 4.4 in his 40-yard dash, and he can get down the field as a gunner, but he could also run down the middle of the field and become a big hitter.
However, Taylor will also contribute immediately to any team at the safety position. He may not end up as a starter in 2012, but he can come in at certain times and play well.
This is why he is perfect for the Saints.
The Saints' new defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, loves to play three safeties at times in his defense. He can utilize Taylor’s skills and make him fit great in the New Orleans defense.
Taylor would fit along great with Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper in the defensive backfield of the Saints and become an immediate contributor.