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Scouting The 2017 NFL Draft: Steven Taylor, OLB, Houston

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Today we take a look at a productive linebacker. You can Watch Taylor play in the Las Vegas Bowl, 12/17, 3:30 PM EST on ABC

NCAA Football: Connecticut at Houston Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Introduction

Hometown: Cedar Hill, Texas

High School: Cedar Hill High School

Recruitment: 2 Star

Class: Senior

Awards:

2016 American Athletic Conference First Team

2016 Lombardi Award Watch List

2016 Butkus Award Watch List

2016 Nagurski Trophy Watch List

Measurables

Height: 6'1

Weight: 225lb's

Projected 40 Time: 4.72

Stats

2016: 72 tackles, 11 tackles for a loss, 8.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception

2015: 92 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions

2014: 76 tackles, 9.0 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 0 interceptions

2013: 89 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 0 forced fumbles, 1 interception

Positives

Highly productive college player

No major injuries, extremely durable in college.

Versatile. Rushes the passer, drops into coverage and sets the edge.

Works extremely hard and shows a lot of toughness

Excellent timing, allows him to get a good first step.

Natural instincts for the position

Does show the ability to shed a block and get to the QB (See Oklahoma game)

Decent closing speed to the QB off the corner.

Shows good awareness when dropping into coverage.

Negatives

Doesn't have ideal size for the position

Doesn't have a ton of athleticism

Doesn't show a lot of explosion or short area burst

May get overpowered at the point by bigger offensive tackles.

Can get swallowed up in traffic on occasions.

Can over pursue at times, taking bad angles to the tackle

Conclusion

Taylor is one of those high effort guys that you can't help but root for. He's been productive in college on a good defensive unit at Houston and put in some really impressive games this year. However he plays a little light at the position and loses track of the ball on occasions. He shows the ability to close the gap on the QB after shredding blocks which is promising and his timing off the snap is excellent, it's his timing and awareness that allowed him to make so many tackles for a loss and record so many sacks. I've seen some projecting him in the 6th or 7th round, which I personally think is a little too low, as you can see from my draft prediction below.

Draft Round Prediction: 3rd or 4th Round