Taylor wants to be every-down DE

At 6-3 and 246 pounds, Hilee Taylor is considered too small by most NFL standards to be an every-down defensive end in this league. That's a major reason why he wasn't selected until the seventh round of the 2008 draft despite registering double-digit sacks totals his senior season at the University of North Carolina.

But Taylor talks like a guy who's willing to do whatever it takes to be a difference-maker at the next level. When asked on Monday what he foresees his role being this season with the Panthers, Taylor eagerly responded, "My role is to give it up for the team, to do whatever they need me to do.

"Right now they want me to be a pass rushing guy and contribute on teams. I'm happy with that. If I make my mark there, maybe I can eventually be an every-down defensive end."

Taylor said his goal is to gain about 10 pounds and maintain a playing weight around 255 pounds.

That, he figures, will help him against the league's bigger offensive tackles.

He idolizes Jason Taylor, the Miami Dolphins' five-time Pro Bowl defensive end who has 117 career sacks. While Jason is about three inches taller than Hilee, he only weighs in at 255 pounds.

Hilee believes he can be that same type of player for the Panthers if he puts on a few pounds.

"Jason Taylor is the guy I pattern my game after," Taylor said. "He's a little taller than me, but he's a high-motor guy and doesn't let his weight issue become a factor. If you play against him you think he's bigger than he is."

The Panthers are in need of player who can get after the quarterback following a season in which they had just 23 sacks.

Taylor, coaches feel, might be a guy who can give them a few sacks here and there on third-and-long situations. Julius Peppers will start at one defensive end spot for the Panthers, but the other spot is up for grabs between veteran Tyler Brayton and youngsters Stanley McClover and Charles Johnson.

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