Taylor is a two-time all-state pick from Ashwaubenon, Wis., the village that surrounds the Green Bay Packers’ revered Lambeau Field on three sides. In addition to his high school football honors, he wrestled for three seasons, finishing third in the state in his weight class as a sophomore. That toughness has helped him fight through multiple injuries to be a very productive college linebacker.
He redshirted the 2008 season to add weight as well as recover from surgery to shave down a bone spur in his neck. Coaches put him in the starting lineup as a freshman, but after starting the first seven games (46 tackles, 6.5 for loss, one interception) he suffered a torn right ACL. He recovered quickly enough to return for 2010 preseason practice, but a tweak of that knee put him under the knife again; he missed just one game, starting the final 12 and garnering consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten honors (58 tackles, eight for loss, two interceptions). Finally healthy enough to start every game in 2011, he was named second-team all-conference by league coaches (first-team by media) after finishing third in the NCAA with 150 tackles (nine for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, three pass breakups; 22 stops against Ohio State). In the spring of 2012, he had surgery on a torn hip labrum which has caused him problems since before high school. However, Taylor still played in all 14 games in his senior season. He racked up 123 tackles (15 for loss), three sacks, and four pass breakups. He was an honorable mention to the Coaches All-Big Ten team.
Hard-nosed, instinctive player who is always around the football. Plays with good bend and pad level, and has enough quickness to take advantage of open lanes to get into the backfield. Uses his hands to rip off while moving down the line, can get off blocks to either side of his man, and can take on and shed fullbacks in the hole. Hustle allows him to cut off backs before they can turn the corner. Heady player in who can follow the quarterback’s eyes to the spot.
Inside/outside ‘tweener, lacks a true position. Doesn't have great athletic ability, size, or strength. Needs to bulk up at the next level to stand up to NFL linemen and tight ends, which might hurt his pursuit speed. Quicker ballcarriers cause him to lose his balance in space, though he works hard to recover and often hustles back to the ball. More of a catch-and-drag tackler than an explosive hitter. Injury history is troubling.
Despite fighting various injuries throughout his career, Taylor has worked himself into a a fantastic college player. (he ranked third in the NCAA with 150 tackles in 2011) with sheer determination. He's smart, and plays the game with great intensity and instincts. However, he lacks the size and overall athletic ability to be anything more than a special teams player at the next level.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.