FLORHAM PARK, NJ — After a weekend where nearly everyone’s bracket has been busted, and by everyone’s I mean mine, (C’mon Louisville, Syracuse, Pitt, and my upset special Belmont!) it’s time to get back to what I know best. Getting back to the official JetsInsider.com’s “Meet the Prospects” segment, it’s time to get to know the player draft experts peg as the next New York Jet: Baylor University NT Phil Taylor.
At 334 pounds, Taylor definitely fills the rather gaping void left by the oft-injured Kris Jenkins. And while news has circulated that both the Jets and Jenkins want to get a deal done, if only for a veteran’s minimum one-year deal, G.M. Mike Tannenbaum has to keep all his options open. Drafting Taylor at the 30th spot will not only cross off one his off-season needs, but also provide an anchor to the defensive line for years to come. So without further adieu, let’s get to know this massive man.
Phil Taylor, NT, Baylor University:
- CLASS STANDING: Senior
- HEIGHT: 6-4
- WEIGHT: 334
- NFL PLAYER COMPARISON: Casey Hampton, Pittsburgh Steelers
Collegiate Career: Phil Taylor Highlights vs. OK State
- 2010 — Started at nose guard in all 13 games; All-Big 12 honoree as senior; Earned second-team All-Big 12 honors (league coaches, AP, Columbia Tribune, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Kansas City Star, Phil Steele, Rivals.com, San Antonio Express-News, Waco Tribune-Herald); Named to ESPN.com All-Big 12 Bowl team; One of eight Bears to start all 13 games; Totaled 62 tackles (35 solo), seven for loss including two sacks, three QB hurries, two pass breakups and one forced fumble; 62 tackles most by BU interior lineman since 2002.
- 2009 — Played all 12 games and started nine at defensive tackle as junior in first season at Baylor; 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; 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; Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of Year selection by media.
- 2008 — 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.
- 2006 & 2007 — 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.
- Massive frame (6-4, 344) is ideal for a running-plugging, double-team-needed 3-4 Nose Tackle.
- Changes directions quickly to beat one-on-one pass blocks. Has the rare size and strength to hold his ground versus double-team run blocks.
- Displays the athleticism to come down the line and make tackles on inside runs, but has superior strength to push offensive linemen into quarterback to disrupt timing of throws.
- He’s raw. Has more potential than production.
- Has conditioning issues; tends to wear down in games and does not play with good effort on every snap. Which may make him strictly a player on first and second downs until he can disprove his conditioning rumor.
- Off-the-field issues, which got him dismissed from Penn State. Charged with a misdemeanor of aggravated assault after beating up a student at a fraternity dance at the school’s student union. The charges were later dropped.
Why the Jets?:
- With the uncertainty surrounding the future of Jenkins with the Jets, Rex Ryan only has 32-year-old Sione Pouha to plug up the middle. While Pouha put together a nice season for Ryan, he’s not a player that teams have to game plan against.
- Nose tackle is one of the important positions of Ryan’s aggressive 3-4 defense. He was a big reason the Ravens drafted Haloti Ngata, who has emerged as one of the premier nose tackles in the league. His constant praise of Ngata and the Patriots’ Vince Wilfork shows his desire to have a premier nose tackle of his own. And Taylor has that potential.
- The Jets have a history of bringing in players with the 0ff-the-field issues (see Cromartie, Antonio; Edwards, Braylon; Holmes, Santonio). With strong veteran leadership in the locker room and a head coach that has the respect of all his players, Taylor would fall right in line.
In his own words:
- “[The accusation that I’m not a 4-down player] was [from] me last year trying to get my weight down [from 360 lbs.]. This year I’m working better with the weight off of me. With the weight off I’m conditioned a little better, can move around more and don’t get as tired on the field.”
- “It was a life-changing experience, an eye-opener,” he once said. “I had no idea how good we have it … It made me humble myself to work harder.” – on his mission trip with teammates to Kenya.