Take one look at Devin Taylor and you'll see what scouts covet: a long, athletic, former SEC defensive end. At 6'7", 266 pounds, Taylor's size resembles that of Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (6'7", 270 pounds), who recorded 11.5 sacks last season.
Since 2010, Taylor started each one of South Carolina's 40 games and recorded 30 tackles for loss as well as 16.5 sacks. He held his own while playing on the same defensive line as great Gamecocks such as Melvin Ingram and Jadeveon Clowney.
Taylor is a player who is athletic, but he also works hard. However, his biggest strength seems to be his biggest liability, as his size prohibits agility and sufficient change of direction.
He's a late-round prospect who still has room to grow physically and mentally.
For now, here are some of Taylor's best highlights in a Gamecocks uniform.
Defensive ends aren't supposed to be able to do this.
Yes they can rush the passer and get their hands in passing lanes, but drop in coverage?
Not only did Taylor rush the passer, then drop back to cover the receiver in the flat, but he took a poor pass by Tyler Wilson and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown.
Sure the pass was right to him, but defensive linemen do not usually do what Taylor did with the ball. This was a game-changing play.
You may have heard about the "swim move" pass-rushers use in order to defeat blocks.
In case you haven't heard about it, watch this play for a textbook example.
On 2nd-and-14, Taylor gets a good jump off the snap and doesn't give the right tackle a chance to protect the quarterback.
Taylor's quick swim move leaves the right tackle with a front-row seat to watch Taylor essentially clothesline the quarterback for a loss of seven yards on the play.
Another good thing Taylor did once he got past the offensive tackle was close the space between himself (Taylor) and the quarterback. Taylor went just two yards deeper into the backfield to secure the sack. In other words, he showed efficient footwork.
In the 2012 Capital One Bowl, South Carolina beat Nebraska, 30-13.
Part of the reason the game wasn't close was because of this play made by Taylor.
If you follow Nebraska football, you know quarterback Taylor Martinez is probably their best player.
Too bad for the Big Red that Taylor knew that. On this play, Taylor "stayed home" (stayed in his assigned area), avoided the pulling guard and waited for Martinez.
As Martinez decided to keep the ball, he quickly realized that was a bad decision as Taylor sacked him for a one-yard loss.
Taylor hit Martinez so hard that he (Taylor) took down Second-Team All-American right guard Spencer Long, too.
What do a lot of players do when a play doesn't go their way? They either stop or slow down.
According to this highlight, Taylor has never heard those words.
After getting sucked in by the play-action fake, Taylor planted his feet and made a bee-line for the quarterback.
Although the offense gained two yards on this play, the defense will take that, because if it weren't for Taylor's effort and attitude, they would've given up a lot more yardage.
It's safe to say coaches really like to see recovery plays like this one from Taylor.
Taylor is known for his length, but it was his strength that helped him make this play.
Although his team was losing by 18 points late in the third quarter, he didn't stop working.
On this particular play, Taylor bull-rushed the left tackle four yards back into the backfield.
That's impressive enough, but while on the ground, Taylor sacked the quarterback by pulling him down and taking him two yards backwards.
If Taylor can do this in a big-time all-star game, imagine what he can do under the tutelage of NFL coaches.