By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
Prospect: Bruce Taylor
The leader of Virginia Tech’s defense, Taylor missed almost all of 2011 with a season-ending foot injury, so much of his draft stock will depend on how he recovers and moves around. Click below for a breakdown of Taylor as a prospect as he heads into his senior season.
+Large frame that overpowers offensive lineman
-Not the fastest player – can be beat to the edge on stretch plays with quicker backs
-Lacks ability to bend and make tackles while engaged in blocks
- Shifts from side-to-side with his upper body, as opposed to using his legs to move more efficiently
- Looks unnatural and clunks when making cuts
+Reads quarterback’s eyes well
+ Lost of experience in middle-zone coverage
+Diagnoses plays well, does not over-commit and get out of position.
+ Still is able to get a good first step without getting lost in shuffle
+Willing to throw his body around and lay a big hit when the opportunity is there
+ Never gives up on plays
- Almost never asked to play in man coverage; almost always sitting in a middle zone or spy
+ Team captain
+Never gives up on plays
+ Returning to school for senior season
- Slow-footed; mismatch against backs and tight ends
+ Smart; quick to find his assignment and does not do too much
- Clunky in space
+ Good job chipping within five yards
+ Constantly reading and reacting to quarterback’s eyes without falling out of position
- Not asked to blitz much
+Good first step, times snap count
- Sheer size is a load for lineman to take on
+Powerful, strong player who knows how to get low and use leverage to overpower interior lineman
+Good use of hands to shed blocks
-Slow to get to the edge, can be beaten on stretch plays
Summary: After having missed almost the entire 2011 season after an injury, it will be interesting to see how Taylor responds in his return to the field in 2012.
Based on what he has shown so far, Taylor is an ideal 3-4 weak-side backer. His strengths stem from his smarts and intangibles as the team captain. However, he can be taken advantage of in the passing game at the NFL level, as he does not run smoothly when making cuts and turns.