Mike Taylor was one of the most productive linebackers in the country over his last two seasons with the Wisconsin Badgers. Over that span, he accumulated 273 total tackles to lead the Badgers, including 24 tackles for loss and five sacks. He will be a difficult piece of the defense to replace next season, but Taylor has problems of his own to deal with as his previously scheduled workout for NFL scouts was cancelled as the linebacker continues to recover from sports hernia surgery.
Taylor first felt the pain in his abdomen around the ninth game of the season when Wisconsin took on the Michigan State Spartans. It progressively got more painful as the season wore on, but Taylor continued to play through it. He stayed on the field all the way through the Rose Bowl Game against the Stanford Cardinal, though by that time the pain had gotten so bad he was struggling to run.
That prompted Taylor to go under the knife quickly after the season ended. He had the surgery on January 7, but his recovery kept him from participating at the NFL Scouting Combine and lingered through Wisconsin’s pro-day on March 6. Taylor only got to be a spectator as he watched his draft-eligible teammates work out, but he stayed positive knowing that his own workout would be coming at the end of the month.
But the pain continues to linger and Taylor still isn’t able to run at full strength. The linebacker knows that this will be a blow to his draft stock as health concerns can torpedo the prospects of the very best athletes at the next level. His chances of getting selected in the 2013 NFL Draft next month may rest on his ability to get in front of scouts and get through a workout with good measurables in the fitness tests.
If he can’t, then Taylor’s NFL dream may be forced to take a detour. Whether it’s in the CFL or as an undrafted free agent, Taylor’s knack for making a play will find him a place on someone’s roster this summer. But that’s only if he can finally get healthy.