Devin Taylor got lost in the shadow of the Jadeveon Clowney hype in his last season with the South Carolina Gamecocks. Now, however, he has a chance to step out of that shadow and into his own light via the NFL Draft…maybe even into the Atlanta Falcons spotlight.
In his days at Beaufort High School, Taylor spent quite a bit of time in the spotlight because of his athletic talents. Though football was his focus, he found time to letter in basketball and track. As a junior, he recorded 80 tackles and four sacks. Taylor stepped it up quite a bit in his senior year with 110 tackles and 10 sacks, which gained him first-team All-State honors from the Associated Press.
Redshirted as a true freshman in 2008, the next year saw him make an immediate impact on the Gamecocks’ roster when he earned SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week in his first start and first game. That same game saw him come away with six tackles and a sack. 2010 was the year Taylor scored his first college touchdown with a 24-yard interception return against the Tennessee Volunteers, and he was again named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week. He recorded 46 tackles that year, the most of the team’s defensive linemen for that season. His 2011 performance garnered an honorable mention All-SEC by the Associated Press, and his senior year performance led to an NFL Combine invitation.
At 6’7”, Taylor cuts an impressive figure on the field. The height has seemed to hinder his agility, but only to a point…and not a point that relevant coaching couldn’t remedy. The Falcons would do well not to overlook the potential of making this pick.