Steven Taylor, Houston: 2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report

Could Steven Taylor out of Houston be one of the most underrated linebackers in the 2017 NFL Draft? Let’s find out!

Coming out of Cedar Hills, Texas, Steven Taylor was rated as a two-star recruit, considerably low for a player that was quite productive at the University of Houston. It didn’t take long for him to be productive, either. Taylor started as a freshman and during his career, Taylor played in 51 career games with 45 starts. He finished with 178 solo tackles, 50 tackles for loss and 25.5 career sacks.

Taylor isn’t much of a playmaker and doesn’t have great ball skills. He finished his career with only 13 career pass deflections and four interceptions. However, in 2016, Steven Taylor was on the Lombardi Award Watch List, the Butkus Award Watch List and the Nagurski Trophy Watch List.

Despite not winning those awards, he still proved his potential to be one of the better linebackers in the country.

Strengths

  • Great at blitzing up the middle
  • Effective 3-4 edge outside linebacker on passing downs
  • Good downhill runner, plays aggressive
  • Consistent tackler with good form
  • Plays good man coverage on tight ends
  • Picks up running backs out of the backfield well
  • Does a nice job in covering curl-to-flats
  • From playing inside and outside, shows how versatile he is.

Weaknesses

  • Seems hesitant at times. Whether it’s dropping into coverage or to come up and play the run
  • At times, he over pursues at the line of scrimmage or in the open field
  • Despite being a good downhill runner, needs to take better angles
  • Takes blocks head on. Rarely rips through the block
  • In the middle of the field, he has the tendency to guess on his coverage
  • Undersized for his position at 6’1 – 225 lbs.

Overall

There are times that Steven Taylor looks like one of the better outside linebackers for the 2017 NFL Draft. Then there are times that he looks lost. Taylor was a 2016 American Athletic Conference First Team. Despite his college production, he’s still undersized for the NFL standard  at 6’1 – 225 lbs.

My belief is that Taylor could develop into a 3-4 OLB for a team like the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets or New England Patriots. Even though his coverage skills aren’t great, he still has the potential to fit that “box safety” role. He does a good job picking up backs out of the backfield and can match up well against tight ends.

When we get to the NFL Scouting Combine, Steven Taylor won’t be the fastest player on the field. Nor will he be the most athletic player with great coverage skills. However, his versatility and ability to pressure the quarterback will make a team want to take him. Taylor is best suited for a team that runs a 3-4 scheme and is looking for an immediate special teams player in the 5th round.

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