Defensive line coaches dream of getting a player like Darvin Taylor II to sign with their school every February. They also have nightmares about all the work they have to do to get a player like Taylor ready to play at the college level. The Thomas Dale defensive tackle has the physical characteristics to contribute at the next level, but he is extremely raw and will need time to develop.
Taylor has great size and is very coordinated. He shows good athleticism and agility for a big man. Like just about every other kid that size at his age, he’ll have to re-shape his body a bit once he gets to college. Taylor flashes good strength, but it isn’t consistent.
Taylor seems to have that knack for just being around the ball. Whether it’s a fumble, tipped pass, or chasing down a player to make a tackle, he shows that he can produce splash plays.
He shows the ability to play strong at the point of attack and take on the double team when he fires off the ball. The problem is that he plays too passive and relies on his eyes to try and figure out the play rather than feeling his block which will tell him where the ball is. He’s big and strong enough to blow up his man on each play, but doesn’t do it on a consistent basis.
From a technique standpoint, he’s very raw. Has an inconsistent get off and sometimes has a hop instead of a power step upfield. He doesn’t use his hands very well and often just throws his shoulder into his blocker. Needs to improve on these things and develop consistency in his game or else he could turn into a space eater who stays blocked.
Taylor has the tools to be a good nose tackle or a 1 technique in a 4-3 defense. I don’t think he can be a 0 technique nose guard in a 3-4 and I’m unsure if he can develop into a good enough pass rusher to be a 3 technique.
Taylor has tantalizing traits as a defensive tackle and may end up being a big time player in college. He also could end up being a little used player who doesn’t end up starting. It all depends on Taylor’s work ethic and how much he wants to develop that consistency with his game. He has the tools to develop into a very good player, but it may take him some time before he can put those tools to proper use.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach). Jamie is also the former Sr. Editor, Digital Content and News for theScore.com.