2) Darrell Taylor
There’s a saying that if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, but there’s another one that you can never have too much of a good thing. The latter applies when it comes to the Bills’ defense.
The Bills allowed the second-fewest points and third-least yards in the NFL last season, but there’s always room for improvement. One such position where the team needs help is at linebacker, especially after the retirement of Lorenzo Alexander.
This is where Darrell Taylor comes into play as a potential option for the Bills in the second round. At the very least we’re talking about a solid backup, but with the realistic upside of being a regular starter at the NFL level.
Taylor actually started his college career as a defensive lineman. However, it was after the Tennessee Volunteers moved him to linebacker for his Junior year that he started to find his niche.
The 2018 season proved to be a coming-out party for Taylor, as he led his team with eight sacks and 11 tackles for a loss. However, as much as his potential was there for all to see, he needed to improve his consistency after totaling seven of his sacks in just two games.
The 23-year-old found that improved consistency during his senior year for the Volunteers, as he set career-bests with 46 tackles and four pass defenses. He had 10 tackles for losses and his 8.5 sacks were tied for second-most in the SEC.
What’s especially intriguing when talking about Taylor, is that he wasn’t entirely healthy during his final season in college. He underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his left leg, meaning he couldn’t take part in this year’s NFL combine.
While the injury has compromised Taylor’s chances of being drafted in the first round, it is this turn of events the Buffalo Bills can take advantage of. Statistics aside though, what would he be bringing to Western New York?
The Hopewell, Virginia native is as strong and physical as he looks and he would bring even more toughness to the defense. Any time you can add an intimidating presence to your team, it’s a positive.
Another part of what makes Taylor so intimidating, is that his strength is matched by his athleticism. His quickness will cause no shortage of problems for opposing offenses, allowing him to be a key pass rusher while also having the ability to drop back into coverage.
Taylor’s versatility means he can be equally effective in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, which would be invaluable. In this respect, the fact he has previously played on the defensive line could also prove extremely useful.
One of the main cons against Taylor is that he is a rough diamond who still needs to develop in order to fulfill his potential. In addition, there are questions about his instincts which could likewise hinder his development.
Overall though, Taylor deserves the opportunity to prove himself at the NFL level. He’s already shown he can handle the best that college football has to offer, and is well worth being selected by the Bills if they decide to go for a linebacker in the second round.