The Denver Broncos signed former Cleveland Browns first-round defensive tackle Phil Taylor earlier this year to compete for a backup spot behind starting nose tackle Sylvester Williams. As a former Tom Heckert draft pick (Denver's Director of Pro Personnel), the Taylor signing made sense.
However, not only were there questions regarding Taylor's scheme fit in Denver, his conditioning was a potential issue. He flamed out in Cleveland because of health issues, even spending all of 2015 out of football.
Taylor puked within the first 40 minutes of training camp, because of poor conditioning. It does take a lot of energy to put 335 pounds in motion.
But on Friday, the second day of Broncos camp, Taylor went down with a knee injury. He underwent an MRI and the results came back negative. Just yesterday, head coach Gary Kubiak said Taylor was expected back early this week.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1691171-broncos-2016-training-cam... Something must have changed in Taylor's prognosis because today, the Broncos placed Taylor on injured reserve and signed free agent D-lineman Billy Winn (also a former Heckert draft pick). In years past, if a player was put on IR, unless he was "designated to return", that ended his season.
This year, the NFL tweaked the rules, which will allow the Broncos to bring Taylor back to the roster in future, if they want to, without designating him in advance. There's still a lot of football left to be played.
With Taylor's inauspicious start to camp, don't expect the Broncos to waste that one opportunity to recall a player from IR on Taylor. As for the 6-foot-4, 300-pound Billy Winn, he is entering his fifth year in the league and spent last 2015 with the Indianapolis Colts.
Winn has appeared in 52 NFL contests, starting 21 career games. The former Boise State Bronco started three games for the Colts last year, contributing 14 tackles and two fumble recoveries, before being placed on injured reserve himself in December.
Taylor's injury casts some uncertainty on the nose tackle rotation, but creates a great opportunity for not only Winn, but Darius Kilgo and undrafted rookies Kyle Peko, David Moala and Calvin Heurtelou to step up and earn a roster spot.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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