Browns head coach Butch Davis got a first-hand look at Ben Taylor when he took his then-University of Miami team to play Virginia Tech.
Obviously, he liked what he saw.
Davis used one of the Browns' three fourth-round selections (111th overall) to grab Taylor, a linebacker who figures to make an immediate impact on special teams.
"I've watched Ben up close when we played against him at Virginia Tech," Davis said. "The versatility that he brings, he's a guy who can play any of the three linebacker positions.
"He's a very smart and instinctive football player. He's got kick-blocking ability, as well. You just feel that he's destined to have success."
"He's a tough, tough kid," added Player Personnel Director Dwight Clark.
Taylor, out of Bellaire, Ohio, was a two-time semifinalist for the Butkus Award, given annually to the country's best linebacker. He was also a finalist for Ohio's "Mr. Football" award his senior year at Division IV Bellaire High School.
Taylor, a 6-2, 235-pounder with 4.7 speed, is hoping to do more than just play special teams as he returns to his home state.
"Coming from Ohio and then going to play for the NFL team here is something you dream about," he said. "It is a pleasure to be in Cleveland. Plus I have a connection with Andre Davis."
Davis, the wide receiver not the linebacker, was the Browns' second-round draft pick, also out of Virginia Tech.
Taylor, who admits that the Steelers were his favorite team growing up, said, "Once I work my way up and get my foot in the door, I think that I can become a starter in the NFL. It takes time and you have to fall into the right position. I think that Cleveland is the perfect situation for me right now."
Taylor was a three-year starter for the Hokies, playing inside and outside linebacker, as well as strong safety.
|Pick: No. 111 (fourth round)
College: Virginia Tech
Height/Weight: 6-1 1/2, 236
40-yard dash: 4.7
Birthdate: Aug. 31, 1978
High School: Bellaire (Ohio)
Honors: Two-time Butkus Award Semifinalist; 2001 second-team All-American selection by Football News; 2001 All-Big East Conference first-team; 2000 Associated Press All-American third-team; All-Big East Conference first-team