Brandon Taylor was a presence in the LSU Tigers defensive backfield for three years. He is the type of player who is not afraid to throw around his 5'11", 209-pound frame and put it all on the line.
What Taylor may be lacking are the coverage skills needed to succeed at the next level. With all the talent around him at LSU, he was able to play up in the box frequently and support the run.
Rarely were his coverage skills truly put to the test, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the speed and athleticism of NFL receivers.
Combine Results: 40-Yard Dash: 4.58 seconds. Vertical Leap: 33". Broad Jump: 118". Shuttle: 4.37 seconds. Three Cone: 7.32 seconds
NFL.com assessed both Taylor's strengths and his weaknesses:
Taylor is a physical safety who enjoys getting in the mix to support the run. He is an effective box player who puts himself in good positions when being the eighth man. He is highly productive and effective as a tackler, and he likes to throw his body around at receivers and let his presence be known. He can be dragged by some bigger players at times, but he rarely falls of a tackle.
Taylor struggles when covering in man, and in three years rarely has been put in a position where he has to do so. With the type of corners and athletic linebackers LSU has trotted onto the field during his tenure, Taylor has been able to play in the box to support the run and has little work in covering receivers.
Taylor will find his niche on an NFL roster but he is not an every-down caliber player.
At least not yet.
His coverage skills must be developed and refined before he gets an opportunity to start. Don't expect too much out of him in his rookie campaign, but keep an eye on Taylor as seasons progress.
None of the experts seem particularly concerned about Taylor's ability to play the run. Of course, the NFL requires its safeties to do more than just blow up the box as Brandon was able to do at LSU. With talent all over the field in the league, Taylor will be forced to play man coverage if he sees the NFL gridiron and that's where the concerns lie. He was rarely asked to cover receivers in college and persistent questions remain as to whether he'll be able to handle the transition to the pro game.
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