Even at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds, South Carolina DE Devin Taylor is often overlooked. He was in the shadow of 2012 NFL first-round pick DE/LB Melvin Ingram last season. Now that Ingram is gone, sophomore Jadeveon Clowney is recognized as the top player on the Gamecocks' defense. Despite that, Taylor has been productive in his three-year career. He has 111 tackles, 27 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, and 10 pass deflections.
He might not get the public recognition, but NFL scouts know who Taylor is, and he might benefit from the extra attention Clowney receives.
Here's what we're expecting from Taylor in 2012:
Why he'll flourish: He's an All-SEC talent who could see mostly one-on-one matchups. He can thank Clowney for that. He also has some good DTs, such as Kelcy Quarles and Byron Jerideau, who can collapse the pocket. He has extremely long arms and a good burst off the line, making him a tough matchup even for seasoned SEC OL. His height and wingspan also make him a threat to knock down almost any pass. Opposing QBs -- such as Georgia's 6-foot-1 Aaron Murray and Missouri's 6-foot-2 James Franklin -- will struggle to see over him.
Why he'll struggle: The secondary isn't quite what it was in 2011 with the departure of DB Stephon Gilmore and starting CB Akeem Auguste currently on the shelf with a leg injury. That could mean less time for Taylor to get to the QB. He'll also see a lot of top-shelf QBs with quick releases such as Arkansas' Tyler Wilson, Tennessee's Tyler Bray, Georgia's Aaron Murray and Missouri's James Franklin.
NFL outlook: NFLDraftScout.com ranks Taylor as the No. 4 DE for the 2013 draft. With a huge frame and a 40-yard dash time that's been regularly clocked in the 4.7s, Taylor should be picked in the first few rounds if he has a strong senior season.
Projected 2012 stat line: 53 tackles, 7 sacks, 8 pass deflections
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