DE Darrell Taylor Jr., Tennessee

6’4” – 259 lbs.

Redshirted in his first season at Tennessee, then appeared in eight games the following year. Started seven of ten games as a redshirt sophomore and posted 27-4.0-3.0. Broke out the following season and finished his collegiate career with campaigns of 36-11.0-8.0 and 46-10.0-8.5 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Finished his career as a team captain. Has an excellent combination of size and bulk for a pro edge rusher, with arms which measured a solid 33” at the Senior Bowl in Mobile. Usually lines up on the left side of the defense as a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker; takes snaps in both two- and three-point stances. Highly productive pass rusher over the past two years whose ability to convert speed to power is his bread and butter. Reaction times to the ball being snapped can be a little bit slow, but fires out with explosiveness once he gets going. Keeps his pad level low and can knock opposing offensive tackles off-balance by winning the leverage battle. Has a lot of power in his hands. At this point, may be a little bit too reliant on that approach and would be better-served by mixing up his approach more. The raw tools are there for him to be a dynamic pass-rusher, as he exhibits excellent very good balance and hip flexibility; plus natural athlete. Flashes the ability to bend around the edge, using his hands to slip by opposing offensive tackles. Sudden enough to use stutter-steps to set up inside moves. Change-of-direction and speed are impressive when pursuing fleeing quarterbacks out of the pocket. Also has the ability to make coverage drops and even carry the occasional running back out of the backfield in pattern-matching zone coverage. Despite his relentless style as a pass-rusher, looks like he’s almost always playing under control in the run game. Gets good extension to lock out opposing linemen, and demonstrates good awareness of what’s going on. Understands positioning and looks patient when working on the backside. Has the leverage and power to set the edge when run at. Gives good effort in pursuit but may be more agile, flexible, and explosive than he is fast in a straight line. A very polished player who combines the productivity, size, explosiveness, flexibility, power, and discipline teams look for in pass-rushers, looking disruptive in the passing game and solid as a two-gap run defender. Will still need to diversify his approach as a rusher and improve his reaction times to the ball being snapped, but looks like a pretty safe bet to develop into a starter.

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