2011 Washington Redskins Draft: Is Tyrod Taylor's Size an Issue for Shanahan?

Harley QuinnContributor IIIApril 13, 2011

Michael Vick is the hero of the quarterback position at Virginia Tech.  He is the poster boy of mobile quarterbacks in Blacksburg, Virginia.  In his two years starting as a Hokie, Vick broke every record that could possibly be broken by a Tech QB.  He also took the Hokies to a national championship against Florida State following an 11-0 season his freshman year.

Those records remained unbroken at Lane Stadium until Tyrod Taylor lined up under center.  

Tyrod Taylor now holds the single school record for passing touchdowns in a season with 23.  He threw 43 touchdowns in his career as a Hokie and only 19 interceptions.  To match his success through the air, Taylor also accumulated 23 rushing touchdowns in his career at Virginia Tech which is also a career record for the school.  

On top of those records, Taylor's 6,795 yards passing and 2,174 yards rushing are also career records for Virginia Tech.  

Does this mean that Tyrod Taylor is better than Michael Vick?  

No, not at all.

What it does say is that Taylor has many of the same characteristics that Vick did and was able to carry that success through four years at Tech, versus Vick's two years.

Whenever we approach the draft, there are always questions about mobile quarterbacks.  These questions usually center around whether or not these mobile "quarterbacks" are really quarterbacks at all?  

For example, look at former Redskin and current Steelers player Antwaan Randle El.  Randle El played quarterback at the University of Indiana and did very well at the position.  

In his college career, he became the first player in NCAA Division I history to throw for 40 touchdowns and rush for 40 touchdowns.  He racked up over 7,000 yards passing and nearly 4,000 yards rushing.  

Today, Randle El plays wide receiver for the Steelers.  Sure, he might get a few looks to throw the ball on a reverse play when the defense doesn't expect it, but his quarterback days are long past.  

Players who played quarterback in college and can also make plays with their feet, aren't locks for quarterback at all.  Should Tebow be drafted as a fullback?  Would Cam Newton make a better tight end?  And finally, should Tyrod Taylor be considered a quarterback, or a running back with the ability to throw occasionally?  

He's a dream fit for the wildcat offense.  In Taylor's defense, he is a very talented quarterback.  His spiral needs to be tighter and his throwing mechanics are a little raw, but Taylor could make a great backup QB.

The biggest obstacle that Taylor faces is his size.  At 6'1 and 215 lbs, Taylor isn't given much respect for his height.  In the NFL, offensive linemen are huge men.  Last year's fourth overall pick, Trent Williams, is 6'5" and 318 lbs.  Current Redskins center, Casey Rabach, is 6'4 and 295 lbs.

Both those offensive linemen are at least three inches taller than Taylor, which may not seem like much, but makes a big difference when scanning the field for receivers.  This raises a concern for a lot of teams that are looking at the Virginia Tech prospect this NFL Draft.  

Taylor has visited the Miami Dolphins, which is no surprise at all.  He would be the best fit for their wildcat offense because he is a dual threat to throw as well as run.  Rumors have it that Taylor has visited or is scheduled to workout for the Redskins as well.  

Taylor isn't the immediate answer at quarterback that everyone wants, but it is an interesting idea.  

There's no question that Taylor could pull off a sick play action in Shanahan's offense on a roll out.  His size isn't even a factor when he's outside of the pocket.  It becomes a problem when he is asked to play in the pocket.  With this in mind, would Shanahan take Taylor with one of his fifth round picks or is the risk too high?

The average height of an NFL receiver is 6'1"-6'2".  Last year, Brandon Banks played receiver for Washington at 5'7".  Clearly this puts him at a disadvantage going up to get a high pass, but that wasn't a huge obstacle for Shanahan.  Banks still played a key role on special teams even without the size or strength to break tackles.  

Although much different than the QB position, it does offer an interesting question.  Maybe Mike Shanahan doesn't have a problem taking a chance on a player that is at a disadvantage at size or height.  Maybe there is a place in Mike Shanahan's system for a player like Tyrod Taylor.  Taylor is a gifted athlete that is a solid QB prospect.  

It will be interesting to see where he is drafted, and by which team.

There's a possibility that team could be Washington.