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Taylor arrived at Penn State in 2006 as a highly-recruited star out of Gwynn Park High School in Clinton, Mary. His career at State College got off to a promising start as he earned playing time in the final seven games of his true freshman season.
A knee injury during preseason drills cost Taylor his starting job to current Miami Dolphin Jared Odrick entering the 2007 season. He returned to play 12 games, including starting the final five contests.
However, an off-field incident in October would prove to be the beginning of the end of Taylor's time in Happy Valley. He was involved in a fight during a fraternity function at the student union. A felony aggravated assault charge was dismissed, and Taylor was charged with simple assault. That led to a suspension in February and ultimately his dismissal from the football program.
Taylor transferred to Baylor and sat out the 2008 season, but began to show increased maturity as he was selected in the spring of 2009 to the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. He played in all 12 games, including nine starts, as a junior, but didn't make a slew of impact plays.
It was his excellent 2010 season that put Taylor back on the map as an elite NFL prospect. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors after making 62 tackles - the most by a Bears defensive lineman since Ethan Kelley in 2002 - to go along with seven tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
Statistics don't tell the story with Taylor, however. He has a massive frame and extremely strong upper body, which makes him a rare natural fit as a 3-4 nose tackle in the NFL. And that's why 33 scouts flocked to Waco, Texas to watch his March 7 pro day. He impressed again, and has enjoyed an excellent pre-draft run that included strong showings at the Senior Bowl and the scouting combine.
If scouts are convinced Taylor's off-field immaturity is in the rearview mirror, his excellent strength and mobility for his size will push him close to the first round.
Pass rush: Though his job is usually not to provide primary pass rush, he can push the pocket with strength and flashes quickness off the snap and a swim move to get past lesser centers. Gives good effort to reach the quarterback if he sits in the pocket too long. Tries violent hands to shed blocks. Not very effective on inside twists, though he can take out the left tackle when twisting outside to free up the defensive end. Once stood up by initial contact, it's tough for him to re-start his rush.
Run defense: Shows excellent strength and mobility as a run defender. Plays with leverage against double-teams and keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Pushes back his man and spins off single and tandem blocks with balance to make the play. Moves down the line well, stays low despite his height to wrap up shorter backs. Willing and able to reach the sideline, takes deep angles to prevent huge runs. Defeats cut blocks and maintains balance to track down ballcarriers. Gets low in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Does not dominate smaller centers. At his best when used in a rotation.
Explosion: Explodes from four-point stance into blockers, consistently getting push up front. Gets off low and quick near goal line to set the line backwards. Despite his size, flashes the quickness to penetrate the "A" gap. Requires double-teams to keep him out of the backfield.
Strength: Huge frame and upper-body development give him the strength to be a 3-4 nose tackle at the next level. Moves offensive linemen to either side with relative ease when covering two gaps. Forces fumbles with one hand punching at the ball while ballcarrier comes through the hole. Uses leverage to hold the line against double teams.
Tackling: Running backs get swallowed up when crossing his path, and he can separate the ball from a ballcarrier with pure strength. Stays low despite his height and will capture backs from behind if they have not yet hit their stride. Chase and hustle are impressive for his size, will chase backs down the line, help linebackers make stops at the second level, and takes deep angles to chase down running backs 20 yards down the sideline.
Intangibles: Sprained his knee in 2007 preseason at Penn State, losing starting job to future first-round pick Jared Odrick. Charged with felony aggravated assault during a fraternity function at a Penn State student union in October 2007; the charge was eventually dropped. Really turned up his game the second half of 2010; scouts could see that as maturity or wonder if he can maintain that level of play.
Compares to: Kris Jenkins, Jets -- Big and powerful, Taylor projects nicely as an interior player in both the 4-3 and 3-4 alignments. If teams are convinced that the off-field concerns that prompted his transfer out of Penn State are a thing of the past, he could wind up a first-round pick.
Taylor, a two-year letterwinner, transferred to Baylor after playing two seasons at Penn State. A native of Clinton, Md., Taylor earned consensus second-team All-Big 12 honors after starting all 13 games as a senior. His 62 tackles in 2010 were the most by a Baylor interior lineman since Ethan Kelley in 2002. He also ranked second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss, tied for third with 2.0 sacks, and had two pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
Played all 12 games and started nine at defensive tackle as junior in first season at Baylor in 2009... Earned first Baylor letter... Totaled 25 tackles (2.5 for loss), an assisted sack, five QB hurries, two blocked kicks and one interception on season... Made more than half (13) of season's tackles (25) in first three games... Battled turf toe injury through middle portion of season... Made big splash in Baylor debut in season-opening win at Wake Forest, had four tackles (two solo) including one for loss and made career-first interception... Had four tackles, one QB hurry and blocked field goal (44-yard attempt on last play of first half) in second game vs. UConn... Had season-high and career-high-tying five tackles and an assisted sack in win over Northwestern State in third game... Made second kick block, PAT in third quarter, vs. Kent State in fourth game... Suffered turf toe injury in fifth game at No. 19 Oklahoma, limited and did not start following two games at Iowa State and vs. No. 14 Oklahoma State... Returned to starting lineup and had three tackles and two hurries vs. Nebraska in eighth game... Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of Year selection by media.
Transferred to Baylor from Penn State in September 2008, sat out season in compliance with NCAA Division I transfer policy but practiced with team... Redshirted to retain eligibility... Selected to spring 2009 Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Played freshman (2006) and sophomore (2007) seasons at Penn State... Member of defensive line in 2007 that ranked seventh nationally in rushing defense (93.8 ypg), allowed only three runs of longer than 18 yards in 449 attempts and held opposition to nine rushing touchdowns in 13 games... Slowed early in season due to knee injury sustained during preseason drills but quickly returned to action and started Nittany Lions' final five games... Played 12 games... Credited with 20 tackles, 12 solo efforts, with 6.5 tackles for loss resulting in loss of 26 yards... Tallied 3.0 sacks, good for loss of 18 yards, and recovered two fumbles... Sixth on team in minus-yardage hits... Recorded five tackles, three solo efforts, and a sack at Michigan State... Backed that effort with five-tackle performance that included one tackle for loss against Texas A&M at Valero Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas... Also made two tackles each against Notre Dame, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio State... Both tackles against Indiana were behind line, including one sack... Also recovered fourth-quarter fumble against Indiana... Saw action on 410 snaps, including 59 against Texas A&M and 58 at Michigan State.
Made collegiate debut as true freshman against Michigan in 2006... Played season's final seven games... Logged 53 plays, including 14 against Illinois and 12 against Temple.
2008: Involved in a fight during a fraternity function at the student union in October. A felony aggravated assault charge was dismissed, and Taylor was charged with simple assault. That led to a suspension in February and ultimately his dismissal from the football program in early 2009.
Prepped at Gwynn Park High School in Clinton, Md.... Played offensive and defensive line for head coach Dan Hayes... Earned first-team all-state and Washington Post first-team all-metro honors as senior... Registered 77 tackles with 10 sacks that season... Recorded 30 tackles during junior campaign with two sacks and a forced fumble... Also credited with 30 pancake blocks along offensive line as junior.
Full name is Phillip Eugene Taylor... Born April 7, 1988... Majoring in general studies.
Draft Scout Player News
10/16/13 - --NT Phil Taylor has 24 tackles through six games. He had 14 in 2012 while playing in eight games. He missed the first half of the 2012 season recovering from a pectoral injury.
07/31/13 - NT Phil Taylor has a calf injury. He returned to team drills Monday after being in individual drills only on Saturday and Sunday.
12/31/12 - DT Phil Taylor no doubt will hear from the league about a cheap-shot and blindside hit on Pittsburgh lineman Kelvin Beachum after the whistle well behind a run play. Taylor gave Beachum a concussion when he landed and his head slammed off the turf. It was a clear cheapshot, and unnecessary.
12/20/12 - DT Phil Taylor has a sore knee but is continuing to practice.
12/12/12 - DT Phil Taylor, a teammate of Redskins QB Robert Griffin's at Baylor, said he expects Griffin, who's battling a knee injury, to play against the Browns "unless he's really hurt."
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