2012 NFL Draft: South Carolina's Devin Taylor a Man Without a Position

Jon DoveContributor ISeptember 15, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 04:  Devin Taylor #98 and Cliff Matthews #83 of the South Carolina Gamecocks force a fumble by quarterback Cam Newton #2 of the Auburn Tigers during the 2010 SEC Championship at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

South Carolina has several players receiving a ton of draft attention. Devin Taylor is among the players being considered an NFL prospect. 

Taylor is an athletic player that has has the ability to rush the passer.  However, he doesn't project to one specific position.

Every year, the NFL draft has a handful of players that are considered hybrids or tweeners.  These are players that don't fit the mold of a specific position. 

The majority are college defensive ends that are too small to play the position in the NFL.  These players are then evaluated on whether or not they can play the linebacker position.

Devin Taylor falls into this category, but is different than the typical tweener. 

Taylor is listed at 6'7" and 260 pounds, giving him a tall but linear build.  At South Carolina, he plays defensive end but does have experience dropping into coverage. 

NFL scouts will have to determine what position is the best fit for Taylor.

He is an athletic player, who has an excellent burst off the line of scrimmage.  He has shown the ability to create pressure. 

Taylor's ability to create pressure comes from his quickness and effort.  He is constantly going 100 percent, always pursuing the football.

Taylor's ability to create pressure is what has him on the draft radar. 

However, he remains a man without a true position. 

His linear build impacts his ability to hold up against the run.  He struggles to anchor and hold at the point of attack. 

Taylor's struggles come from this thin base and lack of leverage.  At 6'7", Taylor struggles to get underneath the blocker and gain leverage. 

These are the main factors that limit Taylor's ability to play defensive end in the NFL.

Playing linebacker is something Taylor is going to have to consider.  He has the athletic ability to be considered for the position change. 

However, he isn't the most fluid, with his hips appearing stiff. 

In order to convert to linebacker, Taylor will need to show the ability to drop into coverage. Possessing fluid hips is an important factor in being able to cover.

Overall, Taylor is someone that may find himself with a dropping draft stock. 

Evaluators are going to struggle to identify Taylor's true position.  However, his ability to create pressure means someone is likely to take a chance. 

Taylor's best course of action would be to add more bulk and improve as a run defender.  This would allow him to remain at defensive end, where I feel he has the brightest future.


Jon Dove is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report, covering the NFL and NFL draft. Check him out on twitter @Jon_Dove42