There is typically very little publicity offered to an NFL Draft selection who went in the fifth round, but safety Cooper Taylor out of the University of Richmond attracted some media attention when he likened himself to a player who is held in high regard among the Giants fan base.
That being said, a bond is developing between a New York Giants great and their fifth round selection from the 2013 NFL Draft.
Taylor, a player who split his defensive duties between linebacker and safety while in college, is looking to model himself after Giants’ legend Jason Sehorn, according to the NYpost.
Taylor, who had an extremely unlikely journey to the NFL, is trying to make a Giants roster that already has a very crowded defensive backfield. Veteran Antrel Rolle and the upstart Stevie Brown are going to be difficult to usurp for a starting job.
To put this statistically, after Brown and Rolle—who had 76 and 96 tackles, respectively—the Giants safety with highest tackle count from 2012 is Will Hill with a total of 38.
Needless to say, the playing time will greatly favor the two incumbent starters.
However, Taylor also played linebacker, but it is the hope of Sehorn that the Giants rookie remains at safety and does not undergo a weight-gaining regimen in order to move to the Giants’ defensive interior.
If Taylor can be anything relating to Sehorn, then he will be a welcome addition to the Big Blue defense. Sehorn played eight seasons in New York and was a fan favorite throughout intercepting 19 passes and registering 458 tackles during the course of his career.
Taylor certainly has the ability to become a steal for the Giants. As a mutli-positional athlete who ran the 40 yard dash in 4.49 seconds, Taylor’s speed is reminiscent of Sehorn’s prior to his devastating ACL injury in the late 1990s.
Given Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s general unwillingness to play rookies—especially those selected in the late rounds—and the aforementioned established starters at the safety position, it is likely that Taylor will assume a “sit and learn” role for the 2013 season. Playing opportunities will most likely arise on special teams where he can utilize his speed.
Taylor was a devastating force at Richmond where he totaled 78 tackles, five tackles for loss, four interceptions, 1.5 quarterback sacks, and three fumbles in his senior season—impressive numbers even at the Division 1-AA collegiate level. And if he can turn that 1-AA success into professional success—like Victor Cruz did—then he can turn into a viable defensive weapon for the Giants.
Armed with the endorsement of a former Giants’ great and superior athleticism, Taylor possesses the ability to make the Giants squad and prove that he was a fifth round steal.