Fifth Round: 152nd Pick
A cross-conference transfer from Georgia Tech, Cooper Taylor is a lesser-known prospect that is quickly gaining some momentum as the draft process unwinds. He missed a lot of playing time because of a heart condition, which was one of the leading causes for his transfer from Georgia Tech.
Does the well-built safety have what it takes to stick around in the NFL?
Taylor has massive size for the safety position being 6'5" 228. He ran an impressive 4.55 40 considering the fact that he has almost 30 pounds on the average defensive back.
However, Taylor has been diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome because of his fast heartbeat, which caused him to miss significant time at Georgia Tech and eventually led to his transfer. NFL teams will certainly do their due-diligence and give him a thorough medical evaluation before investing in Taylor on draft day.
There are no off-field incidents of note.
The first thing to notice with Taylor is just how big he is, especially for a small school safety. He is large enough to potentially make a move to linebacker. He is reminiscent of Virginia Tech safety Kam Chancellor with his great size and explosiveness.
Taylor was one of the most impressive players during the East-West Shrine Game practices, as coaches commented on his great footwork and decisiveness. He also showed better-than-expected athleticism, showing great natural movement in his large frame. (via Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com).
He also has the production to go along with his physical tools, with four interceptions in limited time in his senior season at Richmond. His size and underrated speed gives him the ability to cover tight ends.
There are two primary reasons as to why Taylor is not getting nearly as much publicity as his skills may indicate, with his heart condition chief among them. While he was eventually given a clean bill of health, any kind of medical issue this serious is going to cause plenty of concern for NFL teams.
He will also have to fight the small-school label during the draft process, but the fact that he did play on a more well-known program at Georgia Tech should help his cause.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
While his medical concerns are going to limit how high he will be drafted, Taylor has potential to play a variety of positions and roles for any team that is willing to take a chance on him.
His size suggests that he would be best-suited as a strong safety who can be aggressive against the run while playing in a deeper zone, reading and reacting to the ball—a very similar role to the player he is often compared to, Kam Chancellor of the Seattle Seahawks. He has the makings of an excellent rookie special teams player.
There is also the possibility that with by adding an extra 10 pounds, he would make a terrific weak-side linebacker chasing down plays and flowing to the ball. In either case, as long as he can stay healthy, the sky is the limit for what Cooper can do for an NFL team.