.NET Draft 2007: Meet Courtney Taylor

With the trade of Darrell Jackson, Seattle was in the market for a wide receiver in the 2007 NFL Draft. They took two. The first one selected was Auburn's Courtney Taylor, who was one of the best receivers in the loaded SEC in 2006. Taylor already knows the one NFL receiver to which he'd like to be compared.

“I have to think of a guy who’s aggressive and loves to block,” Taylor said at the Combine in February. “That takes me to the big No. 86 in Pittsburgh, (Hines) Ward. I love him. I feel like he’s a guy who’s willing to go across the middle. He’s willing to do anything for the team.

“He also will go out there and throw blocks. That’s the kind of guy I pattern myself after, a guy like Hines Ward.”

Taylor also likes to use his 6-2, 210 pound frame to be physical with defensive backs.

“That’s how I play,” Taylor said confidently. “I like to play aggressive, I like to use my hands, I like to use my body. I feel like you’ve got to have all those tools and be an aggressive player. Not only just run and catch the ball. You’ve got to be able to make some things happen, make some guys miss and also get in some guys’ faces if you have to help those running backs break those long runs.

“That’s the kind of guy I am.”

As a four-year starter, Taylor’s best season was in 2004, where he posted 43 catches for 753 yards and six touchdowns while starting all 13 games. In 2005, he struggled with a high-ankle sprain that limited him to just two starts in 11 games.

His senior year saw him come back strong and he finished his career with 33 starts in 55 games and posted 154 catches for 2,093 yards and nine scores. He also passed for a touchdown in 2005.

Taylor has long arms and a good frame. He can be physical, and he runs precise routes that make up for his lack of speed.

Where Taylor struggles is that with the ball in his hands he’s very average. He doesn’t explode out of his cuts and that allows defensive backs to get on him quicker than they normally would be able to. He won’t be a threat to take it the distance after he catches the ball, but he has excellent hands and body control to haul in the occasional errant pass.

Taylor’s ideal roll with the Seahawks will be as a third-down specialist where can find the soft-spot in zones and settle quickly giving his quarterback a big target to find. He also is very smart and can read defenses well.

Ultimately, Taylor’s contribution hinges on his ability to pick up Seattle’s complex passing game quickly and then be a reliable target. He’ll also have to contribute on their coverage units. He may start out as a practice squad player who has the ability to move to the regular roster after a year or two in the system.

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