Trevor Siemian threw two touchdown passes in the win against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon. It was expected that someone like Demaryius Thomas would come away with one of the scores, but not so much to have first-year pro Jordan Taylor haul in the one of the game and also the first of his career.
Taylor has taken the hard way in his young NFL career. Undrafted out of Rice in 2015, he would be one of the final cuts at the end of the preseason, but the Broncos front office thought highly enough of Taylor to make him a priority signing to the team’s practice squad.
He also gained a modicum of fame during Peyton Manning’s rehabilitation from a plantar fascia tear last season. As part of Manning's personal practice squad, Taylor worked out regularly to help get the 5-time NFL MVP healthy for Denver's playoff run. Manning even bought Taylor a custom suit as a token of gratitude for all he did to get the future Hall-of-Famer back in the saddle for one more showdown.
Going into 2016 training camp and the preseason, Taylor looked noticeably bigger in his physical frame and played with more confidence, most notably due to his pre-dawn workouts with Manning, even making the catch of the summer with an acrobatic effort that saw the lanky wideout go up for an errant pass and come down with the ball one-handed, all the while keeping both of his feet inbounds.
With another solid preseason campaign, Taylor snagged a spot on the 53-man roster and quietly has improved from week to week during the regular season.
As one of the primary backups to Thomas, Taylor has earned more time on the field lately, aside from his duties on the special teams coverage units. While he started the season slowly, he has accumulated 103 yards on just seven catches this season, along with his first score on Sunday.
It’s becoming more apparent that the coaching staff isn’t afraid of a drop-off when they need to use Taylor to spell Thomas periodically during a game. The Head Coach recently reflected on how Taylor was able to gain the coaches' trust and leapfrog to the active roster.
“I think he’s becoming a really good player," Gary Kubiak said Monday. "Jordan was a bubble player for us, really [at the start of] the season. He’s on the active roster. Is he going to be up? Is he going to be down? Can he play special teams? Jordan is not some big physical guy. There were a lot of question marks. He started to play well for [Special Teams Coordinator] Joe [DeCamillis].
“We gained more and more confidence in him when he goes on the field he makes plays. ‘D.T.’ comes out and I think we keep throwing it to him. We stayed the course and I think he’s stepping up and doing some good stuff. Our team has a lot of confidence in him. He’s earned that.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1729822-broncos-have-yet-play-the... For his part, Taylor pointed toward his uptick in snaps as a matter of just getting used to the feel of a regular season game, in addition to developing a rapport with his quarterback.
“The more you get in the game, the more comfortable you can get and the more used to the NFL speed," Taylor said. "I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and try to get open for Trevor."
The Broncos have one of the deeper wide receiver corps in the league. At the top of the list you have Pro Bowl-caliber wideouts like Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders but you also have credible receiving threats like Jordan Norwood and Bennie Fowler, who are capable of making a play here and there.
And we can't forget the untapped potential of Cody Latimer — Denver's 2014 second round pick. For Taylor to be included in that group of players, and playing ahead of some of them, speaks to how highly the coaching staff thinks of his abilities and how much better he can become with more playing time.
The man called “Sunshine” has carved out a niche with the Broncos this season. Whether it’s being a stalwart on both the punt and kick coverage units or by stepping up with big catches like he did on Sunday, many fans are excited to see his growth continue for the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Adam Uribes is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @auribes37.
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