STRENGTHS - Taylor is a well put together all-purpose running back who is a three down player for the next level. He is a physical player who can do it all. He does a very good job of running the ball between the tackles with good vision and power, breaking arm tackles easily. He has good vision to take the ball into the correct hole to gain the necessary yards in short yardage situations. He is patient and allows the play to form and won't hurry it by being too aggressive with the ball in his hands. He has shown some ability to cut the ball back and make defenders miss (see the USC game) and run into open space. One of Taylor's strengths is in pass protection where he is stout enough to anchor and sink his hips against linebackers and quick enough to pick up the speed rush on the edge off the line. His ability in pass protection will keep him on the field in the NFL. Taylor makes himself available for his quarterback and does a solid job of running routes. He picks the ball away from his body with natural hands and is a reliable third-down pass catcher. Considering the tough brand of football that Taylor plays, he hasn't missed a game in two years.
WEAKNESSES - Taylor isn't a speed merchant and won't blow anyone away with speed, but he plays faster than he timed at the combine. He isn't explosive from a quickness standpoint, and is more a grinder than a speed back. While he has been very productive as Stanford's lead back, he doesn't possess elite physical tools and isn't going to wow scouts who look for the home-run hitter. He isn't going to tear apart defenses by running and turning the corner with speed. While he occasionally shows the lateral agility to make defenders miss, it's almost like he prefers to run to contact and making defenders miss isn't a strength. He lacks the explosiveness and elusiveness in the open field to be a special back in space.
SUMMARY - Stepfan Taylor is one of this class' most intriguing running backs. He is an all-purpose back who has the skills to stay on the field at all times. He is a pounding, grinding runner who gets prettier on film the more you watch him run the ball. While he doesn't possess any elite athletic trait while carrying the ball, he is good at everything he does and there is tremendous value in the security of Taylor's skill set. He is a very good short-yardage runner who knows how much yardage he needs, and he will get it because he runs with very good forward body lean. There is a lot to like with Taylor, perhaps nothing as valuable to a team as his ability on pass protection, and picking up the blitzer. He has the bulk to anchor and take on bigger linebackers in the hole, and the vision to take on the speed coming from the edge. He will earn a spot on a team simply because of how well he handles pass protection. Taylor is also skilled at catching the ball out of the back field and does a nice job as a safety valve for his quarterback. Coming from the pro-style offense at Stanford, he is pro-ready and can come in and help out right away. He lacks the foot speed to be explosive and elusive out in the open field and won't be anything special in space. He shouldn't be looked at as a home-run hitter, but more as a consistent plodder in all phases who is highly adept at protecting the quarterback in pass protection. Overall, he deserves early-to-mid third-round draft consideration by a team looking for an extremely safe draft pick to play as a power back in a committee.