Personally, I feel that Taylor was the most underrated QB in this year’s draft class. The biggest knock on Taylor was (and still is) his height. At 6’1 and 217lbs (give or take), Taylor is considered small compared to the prototypical NFL QB.
I've watched Taylor play for the last four years, and he has excelled in every aspect ofplaying quarterback for Virginia Tech. The one thing holding him back is the one thing that he can do nothing about: his height.
The argument against having a short QB is that they have a hard time seeing over the offensive line. I would like to point out, however, that there have been plenty of successful "short" QBs throughout the history of the NFL, Doug Flutie, Frank Tarkenton, Drew Brees, and Joe Theisman, to name a few.
Here some of the reasons why I think Tyrod Taylor deserves a legitimate shot at being an NFL quarterback.
Tyrod Taylor's first appearance with Virginia Tech was against LSU in 2007, when he stepped in to replace the struggling Sean Glennon. While you can argue he wasn't the starting QB and had to split some time with Glennon his freshman year, it was ultimately Taylor who took the reins and gained the respect of the locker room. In his college career, Taylor led the Hokies to multiple ACC championships.
It is an invaluable asset having a new QB in the NFL that already has four years of experience under his belt. Those extra years of play enable a young athlete to learn the discipline and leadership necessary to compete and higher level. I'm not saying that other QBs that have played less than four years don't have leadership abilities, but experience is something that cannot be taught.
If you watched ESPN's Three For The Show, it was apparent that the maturity and focus of Taylor was above and beyond that of Cam Newton, who played only one year for Auburn.
Taylor has been good both in and out of the pocket. His speed and elusiveness kept plays alive during many games during his time at Virginia Tech. Unlike other mobile QB’s, over the years Taylor has learned not to rely solely on taking off and running. Teams respect his ability to run, and he uses that to create passing opportunities as well. Taylor has the unique ability to stay mobile and aware of his surroundings while keeping his eyes downfield.
Tyrod Taylor ended his senior year with a 60% completion rate and a 24/5 touchdown to interception ratio. He was able to accomplish this without any big name or big talent receivers.
Also, having watched every VT game, I can say the blame should not have been put on Taylor for several of those five interceptions.
Taylor has the ability to make accurate passes under pressure, even with defenders chasing him down or in his face.
Toughness and health in a QB is an extremely valued asset in the NFL. One thing you cannot afford in the NFL is the have your QB constantly injured. If you can't keep your QB on the field, you cannot consistently win games.
Throughout college, Taylor showed toughness and managed to start every game, impressive for a mobile QB. Taylor has taken hits and popped right back up. Now granted, these weren't hits from NFL players, but Taylor has also shown that he knows when he needs to get out of bounds rather than taking unnecessary punishment.
Look at the :47 second mark of this video to see some real toughness from a quarterback.
Brilliance in offensive coaching and play-calling is definitely not what Virginia Tech has been known for throughout Tyrod Taylor's collegiate career. Despite all that, Taylor has on many occasions carried the team on his back and brought them to victory anyway.
His ability to improvise and make big plays in stressful and clutch situations is the reason why VT won multiple ACC championships during his time there.
It's hard to predict which college QB's will be successful in the NFL, and some QB's get more opportunities to succeed in the NFL than others.
I think Taylor has what it takes to eventually be a starting NFL quarterback under the right circumstances. Critics have argued that he would have been picked higher if he had entered the draft willing to be taken as a receiver or special teams player.
The argument here is that Taylor has known two things his whole life:
1. He knows how to play quarterback
2. He knows how to win
...and he does them both very well.
To end to this slideshow, I would like to congratulate Tyrod Taylor on graduating over the past weekend, and thank him for the great football memories at Virginia Tech!