STRENGTHS - A smart and instinctive defender, Taylor is constantly around the ball. Clearly Taylor works hard off the field to prepare as he is able to read and react to the play quickly, which lets him play faster than his 40 time. He uses his hands well to protect his legs from low blocks, which helps him to move through traffic surprisingly well. Smooth and fluid dropping off ball into coverage, Taylor consistently gets proper positioning and spacing. He reads the QB/Pass well in coverage and can close in time to make play to break up pass on short passes near him. Able to bend knees and stay under control, Taylor can drive up into the ball carrier to make strong, wrap-up tackles. He has many of the traits to be a productive special teams linebacker in the NFL.
WEAKNESSES - An average athlete, who makes the bulk of his plays through instincts and smarts, Taylor will have trouble being as productive in the NFL as he was at Wisconsin. Not a quick twitch athlete, Taylor lacks an explosive burst of acceleration, but once he gets to full speed he has better than expected chase speed. Not a big linebacker, Taylor struggles to shed and get free from blockers once they get ahold of him. He gets tied up and ridden out of the play too easily as he lacks the bulk/strength to hold ground when he cannot shed block. His lack of explosiveness hinders his ability to pressure the quarterback when he blitzes. Although he is effective in short area zone coverage, he lacks the acceleration and speed to stay with TE's/RB's in man coverage.
SUMMARY - Highly productive throughout his college career, Taylor is an undersized linebacker (Although he measured 234 at the Combine, he reportedly played in the 220's) who lacks the elite speed and athleticism to be as productive in the NFL. While I do not believe that Taylor has the physical skills to be a front-line starter, he is the type of linebacker that often makes it in the NFL as a special teams player initially and works his way into a starting job where he does a solid, workmanlike job. Overall, Taylor is not going to be drafted early, but in the later rounds he will likely be selected by a team that plays a 43 defense and is looking for a tough, hard-nosed backup outside linebacker with great intangibles. He will have to prove himself on special teams as a rookie, but if he can maintain 230+ pounds and improve his shed ability then he could work his way into a starting job in time.