The trenches. That’s been a focal point of the Dallas Cowboys offseason on defense so far. After losing Maliek Collins to the Las Vegas Raiders, the Cowboys filled that hole by signing veteran Defensive Tackle Gerald McCoy to a three-year deal. Also, to further buffer the defensive front, they added Dontari Poe, a near 350-pound mountain to play alongside McCoy.
Those signings took care of a huge need for the Cowboys by improving the defensive interior, however, there’s still work to be done on the outside. Former 2015 second-round pick Randy Gregory has filed for reinstatement after his indefinite suspension in 2019 and has a great shot of having his wish granted with the NFL no longer suspending players for positive marijuana test. Even with that being said, Tennessee’s Darrell Taylor is another talented pass rusher the Cowboys could steal in the third or fourth round to line-up opposite All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence.
After redshirting in 2015, Taylor appeared in eight games and registered nine tackles a year later. As a redshirt sophomore he tripled his tackle total to 27 (4.5 tackles for loss) while also adding three sacks, two passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. His redshirt junior season was very productive as he totaled 36 tackles (11 tackles for loss, led team), eight sacks (led team), three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He finished his collegiate career strongly with 46 tackles (10 tackles for loss, led team), 8.5 sacks (tied for second in SEC, led team), four passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Taylor is a physical specimen at 6’4 and 267 pounds. His bend and dip coming off the edge combined with his speed make him a nightmare for offensive tackles. Probably his biggest attribute is his versatility. Not only can he lineup in a 4-3 but also as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme, which makes Taylor an interesting prospect for new Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan who is looking to have flexibility in his looks upfront.
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He had some really big games in a career as a Volunteer. Against the Georgia Bulldogs in 2018, Taylor racked up three sacks and had a four-sack game six weeks later vs the Kentucky Wildcats. This past season, he had two multiple sack games in three weeks against Mississippi State and South Carolina. In his final collegiate game, Taylor went out with a bang racking up 1.5 sacks in a Gator Bowl victory against the Indiana Hoosiers.
Scouting report according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
You can never have too many pass rushers in today’s NFL. Taylor would give the Cowboys defensive front, which has already upgraded the interior as mentioned earlier, another talented piece coming off the edge. His name will be one to keep an eye on when days two and three of the NFL Draft roll around.