Senior Bowl Spotlight: Trent Taylor, Louisiana Tech University
Height: 5’ 7 ½”
Weight: 177 lbs
Hands: 8 ⅝”
Arm: 28 ¼”
Wing: 68 ⅝”
40 yard dash: 4.63 (official)
NFL Comparison: Cole Beasley, Jamison Crowder
Scouting Notes: In some ways, Taylor plays much bigger than he is, but that’s because he kind of has to. He’s got to fight for every inch of the field, causing almost every movement he makes to be forceful and explosive. Smooth, he is not. Taylor makes it look like work – and it was, as was indicated by the high number of total movements he accrued over the week according to our Catapult metrics. The other diminutive, slot receiver at the Senior Bowl — Ryan Switzer — was much more fluid on the field, though lacking in other areas, like character (allegedly). The jerky nature of Taylor’s movements doesn’t take away from his ability to get inside and under coverage to catch virtually anything that comes close to his hands – he holds the LTU record for career receptions (315) and is only the 4th Bulldog in school history to have two 1,000 yard seasons.
Quick in tight spaces and in short stints, Taylor doesn’t possess the kind of breakaway speed that a smaller receiver needs to really open up a play. And he’s not going to break many tackles, so he’s got to rely on stellar route running and a comprehensive football I.Q. to stay viable as a playmaker. Taylor has keen awareness of where he is on the field at all times so he makes for an ideal safety blanket for his QB, finding holes in coverage and exploiting them for short but effective gains. On the issue of blocking, though he’s not going to lay anybody out, Taylor will doggedly attempt to stymie whoever he’s assigned to.
Fantasy Outlook: Taylor did everything well during practices at this year’s Senior Bowl, but as in the case of fellow talented but size-challenged college standout Donell Pumphrey, one could argue that he could have been the best player on the field and his limited stature and build would preclude him from serious consideration as a first two day pick in the draft. The fact that his impressive stats came against a less “competitive” group of competition won’t likely help his chances either.
I expect Taylor to get scooped up in the 5th or 6th round. There were whispers that the Panthers really took a shine to the guy though, so maybe he’ll beat that. In addition to his position in the slot, Taylor is also a more than capable kick-returner so that might get him on the field sooner than later. Taylor stands to be a solid real life game-day contributor in all facets of the game he’s involved with. I don’t have a lot of hope for him as a major fantasy contributor, though, as his profile doesn’t fit that of a player who is going to have high scoring days with any regularity. Taylor should contribute steadily if not middlingly in PPR leagues though, should he land a starting gig anywhere eventually.