2011 NFL Draft: Tyrod Taylor to Philadelphia Eagles Could Be Steal of the Draft
One thing is for certain.
The Philadelphia Eagles do not need a quarterback right now. They have more than most teams. They have the comeback player of the year and MVP runner-up Michael Vick. They have who some consider maybe the most sought-after trade prospect in the NFL in Kevin Kolb.
A lot of teams wish they had just one decent quarterback. The Eagles sit in one of the most favorable positions in the league at this position.
So why write an article that says the Eagles should draft a quarterback in the 2011 draft?
Did you ever hear the saying, "Banks loan money to those who really don't need loans?"
What if I told you I believe that the NFL is overlooking one of the best quarterbacks available in this draft? What if I told you that the Eagles could get this gem in the sixth round, most likely? What if I told you I believe that the union of this player with the Eagles is just about the only way this could work out for the both of them?
That player is Virginia Tech's Tyrod Taylor.
NFL scouting reports don't only have him as a late sixth or seventh-round choice, but he is also being slotted as a possible wide receiver, much as Joe Webb was moved from QB to WR in last year's draft.
I keep asking myself why. Why is Cam Newton, a player who has started only one year, getting so much attention, while at the same time people are talking about turning Taylor into a wide receiver?
I just really don't get it. This article will explain why I think Tyrod Taylor is the steal of the draft...but only if the Philadelphia Eagles draft him.
Tyrod Taylor Is Explosive but Needs Time to Learn; the Eagles Have That Time
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Michael Vick is only 30 years old.
Michael Vick is Philadelphia's quarterback now. They have made their decision. Kevin Kolb will most likely be traded, and I hope he is...because Kolb also deserves to start.
This means that there is absolutely no quarterback controversy and the Eagles can concentrate on one guy starting for years to come (unless, of course, there is an injury, God forbid).
Steve Young, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady...
These guys all played as backups until their time was called. Granted, Tom Brady played a lot less time at backup, but nonetheless he had a bit of time to learn. Young and Rodgers have won Super Bowls after multi-year stints as backups to great quarterbacks under coaches who stayed with one team for a decent amount of time.
Tyrod Taylor is explosive and talented, but he will need time to learn the NFL game. He is not ready to start right now, and if he was taken by a team that needs an immediate starter, both Tyrod and that team would fail in my opinion. That would be a shame. The Eagles can take a good number of years to get Tyrod into NFL-ready shape.
One of the reasons Kevin Kolb is so desirable right now is that he is a somewhat proven player. He has had time to develop as an NFL quarterback. He is a better gamble than a draft choice. Tyrod absolutely needs that time.
Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamer Sure Likes His QBs Fast and Mobile
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My point is that both Vick and Taylor came through Coach Beamer's program in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech.
Tyrod Taylor is very similar to Vick in a number of categories. He is short like Vick, fast like Vick and strong like Vick. But he also has a lot of the same bad habits that Vick had coming out of college.
Tyrod Taylor is quick to run out of the pocket like Vick did, not giving enough time for a play to develop. Taylor doesn't look to his second, third and fourth receivers like Vick used to not do well.
These days, under coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia, Michael Vick is a strong pocket passer. He looks to all of his options before running. Then, if all else fails, he turns on the afterburners—and we fans oh so love when he does.
Here's the thing. Tyrod Taylor has similar issues, so he can work on them at the very same time Vick does. He can see the drills translate into success on the field without having to be the guy who stumbles in a game, costing the Eagles victories. Vick is much, much further along and has become an elite quarterback in the NFL. What better system for Taylor to learn in than under Vick and from Reid?
Tyrod Taylor's Stats Haven't Impressed Anyone in the NFL? Why?
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Tyrod Taylor is a multi-year starting quarterback from one of the major programs in college football in the country. Virginia Tech is a perennially ranked program, and Taylor started there nearly his entire time in college.
Last year, Taylor threw for over 2,700 yards and had a near 60 percent completion rate.
He did this with one of the best running backs in the country in the backfield, so you know that VT ran the ball a lot. Taylor also had a group of receivers at VT last year that nobody has really ever heard of.
VT lost the Orange Bowl, but it wasn't for lack of effort on Taylor's part. He nearly singlehandedly kept VT in it as long as it was.
What is not impressive about this next stat? He only threw five interceptions last year, and in his entire time at VT, he only threw 20 picks. He has thrown 44 touchdowns while at VT with 24 of them coming in just the last season. Last year...24 TDs to only five picks. Helllllooooooo?
His passer rating last season was 154.80.
Tyrod Taylor was the offensive player of the year and the overall player of the year in the ACC.
Yet he isn't even discussed in talks of the top prospects in the 2011 NFL draft. Meanwhile, one-year starters like Cam Newton are holding media days and personal workout shows. Don't get me wrong—Newton is an amazing player. Tyrod Taylor has proven himself over time, however. I'm not even suggesting Taylor should go before Newton. I'm just saying Tyrod is not getting enough consideration.
But for the point of this article, that is a good thing. The Eagles should look at those stats.
Taylor Runs Like Vick but Acts Like Tim Tebow—No Character Issues
Michael Vick went to prison. Therefore, he will always make ownership a little nervous.
I think even Vick understands that.
Vick is now a model citizen. He is doing all the right things in Philadelphia. Good for him.
Tyrod Taylor, on the other hand, is not a question mark when it comes to his character. His grades are top-notch, and Taylor is great with the kids...I can speak from experience (that is my son in the picture when we visited team practice after Thanksgiving as VT prepared for the Commonwealth Cup).
My point is that the Eagles can concentrate on football and not worry about any off-field problems with Taylor. He has shown the ability to stick to something by doing so well in college on the field and in the classroom.
Fortunately for Eagles, but Not Taylor, Sixth-Round Pick Gets Sixth-Round Cash
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Put simply, Tyrod Taylor, if chosen in a late round, would get late-round money, and that would make teaching him for multiple years a reasonable investment. Not to mention that the new CBA will probably take care of that anyway.
Tyrod Taylor Already Has a Student/Mentor Football Relationship with Vick
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With the Virginia Tech connection, Michael Vick and Tyrod Taylor already know each other. They already have a student/mentor relationship on the football field. It has been reported that Vick continually kept in contact with Taylor all last season at least once a week on the phone.
So there will be no animosity between backup and starter.
This makes for better practice and more forward progress.
What other team can say that regarding Taylor? Truth be told, I believe that Taylor would not be a problem anywhere from a behavior standpoint. I am just saying the chemistry is already there in Philly.
Besides, sometimes...the best teachers and role models are the ones who have fallen from grace and risen back up.
Andy Reid Likes to Coach the Young Guys
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The average age of a player on an NFL team is 26.04. The Eagles' average age for their players is 25.20. These numbers are based on statistics posted for 2010 at ESPN.com.
It is no secret that Reid has been going younger the past couple years. Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb can attest to that. Also ask Kevin Curtis.
Tyrod Taylor would be a great young piece of clay for Reid to mold. Not to mention the fact that Reid would look like a genius when Taylor emerges from under Vick's shadow in a few years...and starts to destroy NFL defenses.
Really, Reid is in a no-lose scenario if he chooses Tyrod Taylor in the 2011 NFL draft.
If Tyrod doesn't work out, he didn't spend a lot of money or use a big draft pick.
If Taylor goes wicked amazing like I think he can, then Reid is a genius who stole Taylor in the draft.
Based on that alone...why shouldn't Reid pull the trigger on Taylor if he is available?
Of Course, If Taylor's Stock Rises, the Eagles Will Have to Go Another Route
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The one problem with this scenario is that Tyrod Taylor is a winner. He finds a way in his life, and I think he will do no different at the NFL combine.
If he does as I suspect and raises his draft stock with an impressive performance at the NFL combine, all bets are off for the Eagles.
The only way this works is if Taylor is still available as a late-round pickup.
In order for the Eagles to compete for the Super Bowl in 2011-12, they must concentrate their early picks in areas of immediate need.
But that is for another article.
In conclusion, I am torn as both a fan of Tyrod Taylor and of the Eagles.
On one hand, I want Taylor to open a can of whup-ass at the combine and get his money. On the other hand, I feel he is best suited to be drafted as an Eagle and have that time to mature into the NFL game. I think he has the best chance for a long career in my scenario.