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Keith Taylor

Preseason Scouting Notes: Keith Taylor, CB, Washington

Senior| 6’3” 196 lbs | Long Beach, CA

 

 An athletic cornerback with the athletic ability to develop into a shutdown corner in either a man or zone scheme

 

Overview:

Keith Taylor came to Washington as a 4-star recruit and became a full-time starter last season after backing up Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller as a freshman and sophomore. The Huskies used a mixture of man and zone coverages and had Taylor primarily play as an outside corner, but he did take a significant amount of snaps in the slot and the box. The Long Beach native’s stats don’t exactly jump off the page as he has yet to record an interception and only has nine pass breakups in three seasons. However, his acceleration, change of direction, and mental processing give him a chance to develop into a shutdown cornerback.

Strengths:

– In soft press coverage, he doesn’t bite on head fakes. Waits for the WR to commit before opening his hips and has good hip mobility and acceleration to turn and run
– Shows good COD and uses his hands in the five-yard window to stay in-phase on 90-degree routes
– Good at recognizing and sinking his hips against curls and comebacks to mirror WRs
– Has good acceleration to play a good trail technique against WRs and TEs
– In zone coverage, he has the peripheral vision to eye the QB and still be able to find WRs coming into his area
– Doesn’t bite on underneath routes as the flat defender in Cover 2 against smash concepts and as the deep third defender in Cover 3
– Converges on the ball quickly to limit yards after the catch
– Uses low pad level when tackling

Areas to improve:

– Lacks the play strength to hold WRs and TEs at the LOS in press coverage and re-route them within the five-yard window
– Struggles to cover slants because he overcommits to the outside when WRs push vertical and can’t affect them with his hands off the LOS
– He will lose at the top of routes against physical route runners because of his adequate play strength
– Gets boxed out by big-bodied WRs and TEs despite his size
– Doesn’t turn his head to find the ball with his back turned to the QB while in-phase
– Against the run he displays marginal effort. Lacks the play strength to constrict running lanes and block shed, and he lunges when tackling leading to missed tackles

Injury concerns:

N/A

Projection:

Taylor projects best as an outside corner who can serve as a team’s second or third option in year one. His ability to play in either a man- or zone-heavy scheme increases his number of potential suitors as teams could fall in love with his combination of athletic ability and mental processing. However, the Husky needs to add play strength to be more effective in press coverage to truly become scheme versatile. Taylor will likely be a Day 2 pick as a late second- or third-rounder, but can climb up draft boards if he improves his play strength and shows some ball skills as a senior.

What to watch in 2020:

Can he rack up some interceptions and pass breakups? As previously mentioned, Taylor has zero picks and a meager amount of PBUs in college, suggesting his ball skills aren’t up to NFL standards. With how prevalent “bend but don’t break” defenses have become, defensive backs who can create turnovers are more and more valuable. This will be difficult for Taylor to prove since he’s Washington’s top returning cornerback and likely won’t see a whole lot of targets He needs to take advantage of the few opportunities that come.