The Seahawks might have looked bad overall versus the Raiders in Seattle’s first preseason game of 2021. But Darrell Taylor showed promise. His stat-line won’t say he maybe a bunch of sacks and got a bunch of quarterback hits, but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that Taylor looked athletic and got pressure on the quarterback.
Heck, Taylor even played in coverage some. He did look a little lost there but that is OK too. Taylor was playing in his first live action against another NFL team. Learning coverage takes time and coverage isn’t why Taylor is on the Seahawks anyway.
The Seahawks took Darrell Taylor in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft because they think he is a long-term answer to the question of who is going to get sacks in Seattle. Taylor was able to produce, a bit inconsistently but that is the talent around him in college’s fault, at the University of Tennessee but has the skills and speed and athletic ability that should translate into quarterback pressures in the NFL.
Darrell Taylor will definitely help the Seahawks in the future
On Saturday versus the Raiders, Taylor had 3 combined tackles (2 solo) but did not record a quarterback hit or sack. This is very misleading. In fact, Taylor used his speed to move from end into the middle of the Raiders line on a dropback that caused Nathan Peterson to be flushed out of the pocket and into the arms of Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton.
Even though Taylor was playing against Raiders backups, his athleticism is going hold up well against NFL starters. In fact, the issue isn’t whether Taylor will be a decent pro, he will. But whether Taylor is just a rotational player or a starter is how well he learns to use his physical gifts in the scheme of the defense overall.
It is easy in preseason games to wing it and find a way to opposing quarterbacks. Opposing offenses aren’t trying to design blocking systems that slow individual pass rushers from other teams. For instance, if a team is playing the Rams, teams don’t spend the entire week of preseason on how to stop Aaron Donald. That is regular season stuff.
But great NFL players are separated by good ones by their ability to think as well as applying their physical skills. Donald is great because he is fast and strong but he also understands opposing offenses. If Taylor can do this as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end then he will be very good for the Seahawks.