Stepfan Taylor: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Stanford Running Back
In a sea of solid, if unimpressive, running backs that make up this year's draft class, Stepfan Taylor stands alone as the most well-rounded prospect. He began his career in the shadow of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, and the year after Luck was drafted put on his best performance as a senior.
With running backs always in demand, Taylor's value as an all-around contributor could make him a steal in this year's class.
Weight: 214 lbs
Hometown: Mansfield, Texas
Major: Information Science and Technology in Society
Taylor had an impressive career at Stanford, finishing his career as one of the top running backs in school history. The Cardinal went 18-3 in games Taylor eclipsed the century mark, and his 21 100-yard games are the most in school history.
After conceding the spotlight to quarterback Andrew Luck during his first three years at Stanford, Taylor recorded his best season as a senior, the year after Luck had left for the NFL.
He is the first Stanford running back ever to rush for 1,000 yards in three straight seasons, he finished tied for second in school history with 29 rushing touchdowns and tied for first with 44 total touchdowns.
Combine/Pro Day Results
Taylor measured 5'9" and 214 pounds at the combine before running an underwhelming 4.76 40-yard dash. He churned out 17 reps in the bench press, recorded a 30" vertical, 110" broad jump, completed the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds and ran the 20- and 40-yard shuttles in 4.50 and 12.06 seconds, respectively.
At Stanford's pro day, Taylor managed to improve his 40-yard dash time within a range of 4.64 to 4.68, though not enough to jump off the page.
Taylor has developed a fun-loving, free-styling alter ego by the name of Kulabafi, who has his own style, his own personality and his own YouTube channel. If he doesn't make it in the NFL, maybe he can take a crack at the rap game.
What makes Kulabafi so intriguing is how completely different he is from Taylor.
In an interview with FoxSports, Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said, "I had never seen that side of Stepfan. Because he’s the complete opposite in the meeting room and at practice. He is as quiet as a church mouse and he is so focused all the time."
Taylor is among the biggest sleepers in this year's draft, particularly at running back. He isn't going to blow anyone away with tremendous speed, or pinball through holes and off defenders, but he was a workhorse at Stanford, and a versatile workhorse at that, contributing as both a great runner and reliable receiver.
Charlie Campbell of Walter Football notes, "Taylor showed three-down ability with his blocking and receiving" and believes Taylor "is a sleeper prospect who could be a draft-day steal."
His combine profile offers great insight on Taylor, stating he is "possibly the safest back in this class due to his ability to not only pass protect, but to catch the football, which will make him invaluable on third downs."
Given his skill set, and all-round ability, Taylor projects a second- or third-round pick in the draft.