Cooper Taylor to Giants: How Does the Safety Fit with New York?
After the Giants dropped jaws with their selection of Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib in Round 4 (No. 110), they were back to business as usual in Round 5, selecting Richmond safety Cooper Taylor with pick No. 152.
It took the Giants until their fifth selection of the draft to address the back seven of their defense, and Taylor fits the bill.
Taylor (6'4, 225) is a mountain of a safety who started his career at Georgia Tech. Unfortunately for Taylor, his football career was nearly derailed before it truly began, as he was forced to miss the majority of the 2009 season due to Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, which required surgery to fix the abnormal electric pathways in his heart.
After missing most of the 2010 season as well, Taylor transferred to Richmond, where he starred for the Spiders in 2011 and 2012.
Where will he fit with the Giants?
The short answer is in their safety rotation. The Giants' pass defense was wretched in 2012, as the team finished ranked 28th in that category, so Big Blue needed to inject the secondary with a young playmaker or two.
The Giants like to play a lot of three-safety looks, and with Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown entrenched as the starters at safety, Taylor could break into the rotation and see time on the field with both Rolle and Brown.
Behind Rolle and Brown on the depth chart are Will Hill and Ryan Mundy. No offense to those players, but I'd be surprised if Taylor didn't get onto the field in quick fashion.
The longer answer to Taylor's fit could be at linebacker.
Take a look at the Giants' linebackers. If you're a Big Blue fan, that should scare the hell out of you. Keith Rivers, Dan Connor and Jacquian Williams as the starters? Yikes. I'm not ready to declare the position a Chernobyl-style disaster, but it's not far off.
While he moves like a safety, Taylor is built like a linebacker, and I wouldn't be shocked if defensive coordinator Perry Fewell gave him looks at the position.
Giants fifth round pick, Richmond S Cooper Taylor, is huge, 6-4 and 229 pounds.Maybe a linebacker type?#nyg— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) April 27, 2013
While I don't think Taylor will end up with better numbers than either Rolle or Brown, I do believe he has the ability to make an impact as a safety in his rookie season.
And again, don't be surprised if Taylor is flexed to linebacker, where his size and speed combination could provide a boon to the Giants defense.
In his time at Georgia Tech, he showed he could hang with the big boys, and two terrific seasons at Richmond should have him ready to contribute at the NFL level.
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