Birthday: April 1, 1983
Strengths: Sean Taylor may have been born on April Fool’s Day, but this setup of a player who can cover like cornerback and hit like a linebacker is no practical joke. Taylor’s impressive size-speed combination has many labeling him as this year’s version of current Texan Andre Johnson, a freakish-sized athlete with freakish-sized talent.
Taylor, who also runs for the Hurricane track team, should easily post a 4.4 time in the forty when given the opportunity. Playing running back as well as defensive back in high school, Taylor set a Florida state record for touchdowns. No longer on offense, Taylor has still found a way into the endzone for the Canes on defense and special teams.
Taylor fits right in with Miami’s aggressive style of defense, one that looks for interchangeable safeties who are able to play the run as well as they play the pass. Taylor does both exceptionally well. He can drop the hammer on a ball carrier, and he can ballhawk a pass when he gets the chance. Taylor plays all over the field, showing off fabulous range in coverage and totaling high tackle numbers.
Areas for Concern: Taylor has few weaknesses, but he’s a little rough around the edges in more ways than one. Still getting bigger, he needs to continue to refine his skills, especially in man coverage. He’s also been a bit hard headed according to his teammates, and they’re not just talking about how he hits. Taylor should be able to overcome those rough parts with another year of experience and maturity.
Taylor hasn’t suffered significant injury since becoming a Hurricane, but he did arrive at Miami somewhat unheralded because of a hip injury he suffered as a junior in high school. Given his impressive play as a high school senior and last season as a sophomore, the injury does not seem to have any lingering effects.
Also, of all the great things Taylor did last year, his most memorable moment came during the Fiesta Bowl loss to Ohio State. After making a key third quarter interception in the end zone, Taylor chose to run the ball out, hoping to score a touchdown and knot the game at 14-14. Instead, Ohio State’s Maurice Clarett stripped him of the ball at Miami’s 28-yard line, setting up a Buckeye field goal for a 17-7 lead.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? The Hurricanes think Taylor will be the best safety to have ever played at Miami, and that list includes former first round pick, Ed Reed. Compared with Reed, Taylor is about four inches taller, 25 pounds heavier, and a step or two faster. Reed was an integral leader of a championship team, something Taylor has yet to be, but Taylor has more ability and a bigger upside. A better comparison than Reed may be with former Oklahoma safety Roy Williams. Taylor is a few inches taller than Williams and may even be a bit faster, so Taylor has the potential.
The Texans need a safety with Taylor’s size and range. Despite playing a position that is usually ignored in the early half of the first round, that kind of package will go high in the draft, and more than a few scouts are already rating Taylor as a top ten pick if he continues to improve in 2003. Expect Taylor to give serious thought to leaving Miami early for the 2004 NFL draft, and if he does, expect the Texans to give serious thought to using their first pick on another Hurricane.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
Sean Taylor’s 2002 Stats G TCK PBU INT FF FR 12 85 15 4 1 0 Sean Taylor Return to The War Room
Click on a player’s name to preview other top S prospects: