COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- In a conference-championship bout between DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) and Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) in Maryland's Byrd Stadium, the top-seeded Stags emerged with a 48-17 victory. TT was on hand to scout DeMatha senior wideout Kellon Taylor, a potential Terps’ target.
Our take on Taylor’s game -- based on in-person evaluation and raw-footage film study -- is below, while an interview can be seen above:
A tall, rangy and athletic receiver, Taylor has some upside and projects as a possession receiver at the next level. It’s conceivable he could develop into a tight end if he adds significant bulk after two-plus years in a college weight program. But more than likely Taylor’s going to make his name as a short- to intermediate-range wideout, and a potentially potent redzone target.
One of the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Taylor’s most marketable qualities is his long frame. Not only does he have height, but Taylor possesses big, strong hands (developed from his time spent on the basketball court); lengthy arms; and plenty of lean muscle, giving him an underlying strength.
Lined up out wide, Taylor does some of his best work in the air. He gets downfield, skies above defensive backs and snares the ball at its highest point. He regularly out-muscles corners for jump balls, refusing to shy away from contact, even when ranging over the middle. Taylor’s above-average vertical, combined with his long limbs and sure hands, allow him to pull down passes overtop most defenders.
He also has standout body control, Taylor flashing the ability to straddle the sideline and toe-tap in bounds. He’s able to gain inside position and shield defenders away from the ball too.
Moreover, Taylor possesses mitt-like hands, rarely bobbling or dropping catchable balls, while showing a penchant for making the circus catch. His wide catch radius and wingspan allow Taylor to grab wayward throws, including those over his head or behind him. He’s not a body-catcher either, Taylor snagging balls at their tip before cradling them in.
Taylor can also do some damage after the catch, his athleticism and quick-twitch fibers allowing him to split the safeties or sidestep defenders. He seems to have solid open-field awareness as Taylor senses openings and has a knack for picking up blocks.
Speaking of blocks, it should also be noted that Taylor’s a willing blocker who works to spring the running backs. He can gain extension and turn corners to the outside, creating lanes out on the edge.
The main question surrounding Taylor, however, is his speed. He’s a long strider with some ability to get downfield in high school, but Taylor’s not a track star. He is not someone who is going to take the top off at the next level.
As aforementioned, Taylor will probably have to make his mark as a possession receiver. But to do so, Taylor must significantly improve his mechanics. Wideouts can succeed without ideal wheels by perfecting the “little things” like footwork, route running and knowing how to bate defensive backs. Taylor, for his part, needs work in all those areas.
Furthermore, Taylor has to improve his initial burst, eating up the cushion a bit more rapidly. He tends to be methodical at the line, taking a tad too long before entering his route. Basically, we’d like to see Taylor develop more suddenness, both off the ball and when getting in and out of his breaks.
Indeed, Taylor has to become more decisive with his cuts. He’s not especially sharp or explosive, leading to shaky, deliberate routes. He’ll round out comebacks, doesn’t chop his feet at the top of his patterns, and takes too many steps when attempting more complicated routes such as an out-and-up.
Taylor also has a little stiffness to him, limiting his fluidity/agility and his ability to execute elite-level patterns. Right now, FBS defensive backs will be able to easily diagnose Taylor’s moves; he needs to learn how to disguise his steps by becoming defter and more precise.
Plus, it would behoove Taylor to improve his all-around strength. He tends to have issues defeating jams against feisty, physical corners who can disrupt the DeMatha receiver’s route. He has the long arms to throw defensive backs, but now he must add the power/muscle to consistently do so.