A seventh-round draft choice of the Steelers, Taylor was a do-everything defensive end for the Tigers. The 6-3, 302-pounder was versatile enough to play inside or outside in Memphis' unique 3-3-5 defense that employed a three-man line just as the Steelers do.
Add in the fact Taylor was extremely productive, recording 150
tackles, 21 of which went for a loss, six sacks, two forced
fumbles, three fumble recoveries, an interception and 12 pass
deflections and you have to wonder how he possibly could have
lasted until the seventh round.
Taylor, for one, certainly was puzzled.
"I was expecting to get drafted, but I also got kind of nervous (as
the draft went on)," Taylor said. "But more and more calls started
to come and I'm glad it ended up the way it did."
That's because Taylor could be a perfect fit for the Steelers
He has the bulk to play the nose tackle position, but the speed -
he runs the 40 in 4.89 seconds - and pass-rushing ability to
move outside and be an effective end.
"He'll be an end that can play nose tackle," said Steelers head
coach Bill Cowher of Taylor. "We think he can play end. We think
he's a guy who's on the way up. He can play a couple of
positions. He's a good, young player, bright, smart."
Taylor will be in the mix of players trying to replace trying to
replace Rodney Bailey, who signed with New England as a
restricted free agent.
The team signed veteran Travis Kirschke, a starter last season
in San Francisco, while Chris Hoke and Kendrick Clancy were
re-signed by the team. Third-year player Brett Keisel also returns
after missing the 2003 season with a shoulder injury, but is
strictly a defensive end.
But the team may try to keep an extra defensive lineman on the
roster this season because Kimo von Oelhoffen is 33 years old.
Even though von Oelhoffen is coming off a career year, the
Steelers know he could go downhill at any time and they want a
replacement already on the roster when that happens.
Taylor hopes to be that man.
"I feel like wherever they need me, I can contribute and adapt to
what they need me to do," Taylor said.
"Wherever they need me to play, I can play there. I feel
comfortable playing any position on the line of scrimmage."
Taylor made for Steelers defense
Steel City Insider Top Stories
Notebook: Green Impressing Steelers CoachesOnly two practices in and Ladarius Green proving self; also, optimism heats up for return of Roethlisberger, more.
Steel City InsiderWednesday at 3:51 PM
All-22 Review: Pats-SteelersJon Ledyard breaks down tape of the Steelers' loss to the Patriots.
Steel City InsiderWednesday at 4:28 AM
Notebook: Bye Week BumpAlso, position coaches grilled on their defensive units.
Steel City InsiderTuesday at 4:53 PM
Inside The Locker RoomUp close and personal the day after a Steelers game.
Steel City InsiderTuesday at 5:09 AM