clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Vincent Taylor breakdown: Hurricane Katrina, blocked field goals, and not being Ndamukong Suh

Allstate Sugar Bowl - Mississippi v Oklahoma State Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins used two of their 2017 NFL Draft selections to add depth at the defensive tackle position, looking to find players who can rotate into the lineup to give Ndamukong Suh and Jordan Phillips a break during the game. The second of those defensive tackle picks came when the team added Oklahoma State’s Vincent Taylor in the sixth round, pick 194 overall. In three seasons with Oklahoma State, Taylor appeared in 34 games, recording 112 tackles, 23 tackles of loss, 12 sacks, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.

Over at Cowboys Ride for Free, SB Nation’s Oklahoma State blog, Colin Price broke down Taylor’s potential at the NFL level, as well as reviewing his play for the Cowboys, in his pre-Draft preview:

We get to last season [2016] where [Taylor] took over and became the cornerstone of the defense, amassing 51 tackles, leading the team in tackles for loss and sacks with 13.0 and 7.0 respectively. He also led the nation in blocked kicks with four this season. This spectacular performance landed him All-Big 12 honors and played into his decision to leave the team after his junior year to pursue his NFL career.

After a solid career at Oklahoma State, Vincent Taylor is ready for the NFL and is being rated as the No. 5 DT in the draft class. He’s been touted as a rotational player for an NFL team, not expected to be taken in the early round. NFL.com has him going in rounds 6-7 but several projections have him going as high as the third but averaging in rounds 4-5.

Over at NFL.com, Taylor’s strengths and weaknesses were listed:

Strengths

Fires out of his stance with some gas. Can win the early battle for neutral zone. Able to create push at point of attack and make plays on other side of line. Plus upper body strength. Bench-press numbers are impressive. Can toss blockers aside and win the gap late in the rep. Has long arms and active hands in passing lane. Motor is adequate and he'll give an honest chase to the ball. Not a stagnant rusher. Looks to find blocker's edge and has posted solid sack production.

Weaknesses

Top heavy with stiff ankles and an overall lack of functional flexibility in his play. Short-area quickness is somewhat limited. High center of gravity and narrow base allows blockers to wash him down in space and turn him out of his run fit with base blocks. Upright as a pass rusher and can be redirected too easily. Unable to gain ground with lateral movement, stunting his effectiveness in twist game as pass rusher.

Taylor moved to San Antonio when he was ten after his family’s home in New Orleans was destroyed by Hurrican Katrina in August, 2005. He discussed coming from that moment to being a member of the Dolphins when he met with the media during last weekend’s rookie minicamp. “It was a nightmare for me being a 10-year old boy seeing dead bodies, seeing everything that I had, get lost,” Taylor explained. “At (that) time, me and my family, we’d just bought new furniture. My mom worked at the DoubleTree Hotel, so me, my dad and my brother, we always heard of a hurricane coming to New Orleans, but we never took it seriously. When Katrina came, we thought we’d ride it out, and we wound up getting a bad end of it. Being stuck in New Orleans without no food and power and now I’m here today, so it’s just a blessing every day I wake up and go to sleep and pray and thank God for where I’m at today, because me going through all that at a young age, it was hard for me.”

Taylor and his family stayed at the DoubleTree Hotel where his mom worked as the storm started. Through the winds and the flooding, the entire house was destroyed, and the family chose to just start driving. Initially intending to go to New York, the family was forced west by the evacuation, once they arrived in San Antonio, they decided to stay there, instead. “I’m very grateful,” Taylor said of his outlook on his life now, from where he was then. “One thing most people don’t know (is) I got the Louisiana map tatted on me with the date that Hurricane Katrina hit. It’s something that’s always going to be with me every day.”

Besides playing defensive tackle, Taylor, as Price said in his Draft preview, seems to excel on special teams, where he uses his size and athleticism (6-foot-3, 304lbs., 5.07 second 40-yard dash, 28.5 inch vertical, 108 inch broad jump, 4.72 second 20-yard shuttle, 7.58 second 3-cone drill) to break through the line of scrimmage and block kicks. “At the Combine, they measured my hands at 10½ (inches). (I) blocked five field goals (and) my hands played a huge part in that. I think my hands are pretty big. I’m coming in here and looking forward to finding ways to get them stronger.”

“Both,” Taylor answered when asked if he jumps or just puts his hands up to block the field goals. “Some of them … Looking at film, (on) one of them I jumped and two of them I was able to get my hand on them. So, it turned out for the best.”

In October, he blocked two kicks against Texas, including one that he scooped up and began running down the field before pitching the ball for a returned, defensive two-point conversion.

Taylor comes to the Dolphins looking to find his role and adjust to the NFL. "This level of play is way different from college. Me coming from high school to college, I was first amazed walking into a college locker room than I was high school. And that’s kind of how it is right now walking into an NFL locker room rather than walking into a college locker room. It’s different; it’s strictly business. I’m just looking forward to coming in here and learning.”

Miami does provide Taylor, as well as fifth-round selection Davon Godchaux, with the perfect opportunity to learn as they play behind Pro Bowl defensive tackle Suh. "One thing I can say is I could never try to be like him," Taylor said when asked about learning from Suh. "I can only be the best Vincent Taylor that I can be. But I’ll try to get some things from him and learn from him to try to make my game better.”

He continued, “Like I mentioned, I’m looking forward to trying to take some things from his game to add to my game. Not just from Suh, but also from Jordan (Phillips). Him coming from the Big 12, I’m familiar with who he is. I’m looking to learn from both of those guys.”

The Dolphins’ rookie minicamp ran from Friday through Sunday this past weekend. During the three-day event, the team focused on classroom work and providing the seven draft picks and 14 signed undrafted free agents with an introduction to the team, the city, and the league, hoping to prepare them for the demands of being in the NFL. The team also signed five of the seven draft picks, to include Taylor, over the weekend, with first-round pick defensive end Charles Harris and fifth-round defensive tackle Godchaux as the two remaining players to come to terms with the club.