One name that’s been rising up a few draft boards is Baylor nose tackle Phil Taylor. While he has his share of baggage in the past, being dismissed from Penn State and having problems keeping off weight, Taylor is one of the very few pure 3-4 nose tackles in this draft. Battle Red Blog caught up with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting and Taylor was a featured topic of conversation:
Jake: The Texans are switching to a 3-4, and don’t have a natural nose tackle on the roster. You recently stated that there is a chance Baylor DT Phil Taylor may end up being a top 15 pick. How realistic do you think that is, and could the Texans make that surprise move?
Wes: It wouldn’t surprise me at all to be honest. How realistic? We would have said that there was zero percent chance that Tyson Alualu went in the top ten last year and he did, so there’s always a chance. What makes it even more intriguing is that Phil Taylor is one of the few tackles in this year’s draft that not only is a really gifted guy; physical, plays strong, has an anchor, good athlete for his size, he can potentially anchor a 3-4 defense as a nose, but he’s also athletic enough to play the five technique. So when you have a guy that fits perfectly into a 3-4 defense and you’re a 3-4 team like the Texans that have a lot of missing pieces in the front seven, getting a guy that could anchor your defense would be key.
At the same time, he does have some character issues. He was kicked off the Penn State team and then transferred to Baylor. He has had some weight issues and really only had one year of production, so there’s definitely some risk that goes with the reward with a guy like that. I think 11 is too high for him, but I’ve been shocked before and when you have a talent like him, a lot of times teams will overlook those character concerns.
The guys at Draft Zoo also predicted this pick in their latest mock.
While I don’t have any deep connections with the Texans front office, this potential pick smells funny in two areas. First, the Texans always shy away from draftees with any sort of character issues. Second, the Texans always ignore nose tackles in the draft. Maybe there really is a sea change going on at Reliant this year with Wade Phillips running the show, but I think the odds of Taylor being the man at #11 are pretty low.