Fans and writers tend to drool over draft prospects who do well at the Combine and frown upon those who go from studs to duds during the annual NFL player assessment event. However, when a college star prospers at the Combine, it tends to confirm to scouts that the player is legit. One of those examples is Boise State's cornerback, Jamar Taylor.
Let's take a look at Taylor's Combine numbers:
Taylor (5'11" 192 lbs), a San Diego, California native has made an impact on the Broncos since his true freshmen year in 2008. He was forced to redshirt his sophomore year due to a knee injury, but won a starting job in 2010 (35 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three forced fumbles). Taylor then suffered stress fracture in his redshirt junior year (2011) and it forced him to miss four-and-half games. He was able to return for the Las Vegas Bowl, where he had a pick six. This past season, Taylor got 4 interceptions, 9 pass deflections and 2.5 sacks as a starter and a captain on defense.
Taylor has been universally praised for his toughness. CBS Sports call Taylor a "reliable run defender who doesn't back down from a challenge. Keeps his containment responsibilities, showing the ability to break free from blocks and is a reliable open field tackler who plays with toughness." NFL.com says he is "not afraid to get physical with receivers, often redirects their routes with strong hands." Both sites praise Taylor's straight-line speed (4.39, 40-yard dash), his strength (22 reps on bench press) and his coverage ability. NFL adds that he has " fluid hips, smooth in turns and out of the back pedal." Boise State ranked fourth in the country in pass defense in 2012 and only surrendered three passing touchdowns all year. Taylor was voted First Team All-Mountain West this season.
As with any prospect, Taylor has his caveats. As previously mentioned, Taylor has had a few, at least semi-serious leg injuries. He was fine during 2012, but the stress fracture and knee injuries are notable, and forced him to miss a whole season and a half. Taylor is physical, which is good, but he tends to sometimes be way too physical and quick to hit. CBS acknowledges that he is sometimes too "aggressive and can be fooled by double-moves" and NFL says he "can be fooled by play action, jumps up to allow free receivers behind him."
NFL.com compares Taylor to Drayton Florence, while CBS compares him to Ronde Barber, both of whom have had solid and spectacular careers respectively. NFL Draft Scout has Taylor graded as a 2nd round pick.
Taylor is extremely physical and that might be an understatement. He uses his hands very well and for a guy who weighs less than 200 lbs, he is pretty strong. The guy has ball skills but I would not call him a ballhawk. He tends to play too tough at times and gets away with hand checks and coverage that would likely get him flagged in the NFL. He is a fantastic tackler, who takes good angles and wraps up. Taylor's instincts are on par with most of the great college defensive backs but he does tend over-pursue at times. He can take on big wide receivers and the occasional tight end, and is more than willing to battle for the ball. Taylor is one of the more complete cornerbacks in the draft but lacks ideal size and has an injury history.
Don't just take my word for it. Check out Taylor's play for yourself:
Now that you know a bit more and have watched the tape on Taylor, would you be interested in the Eagles adding him with their 2nd round pick?