STRENGTHS - Taylor has excellent physical tools to go along with a strong athletic frame. His height is an instant attention getter which allows him to easily close down passing lanes and knock balls done thrown in his area. He shows long arms which make it easy for him to keep blockers off his body and grab ball carriers that come his way. He has a very natural burst at the snap which allows him to get the edge and pressure the pocket. On film he seems to play at one speed which is fast.
WEAKNESSES - Although his height is a nice advantage it can also cause him to struggle to gain leverage and allow blockers to get up under him and drive him off the ball in the run game. He lacks great instincts which take him away from the play and does not show great vision to find the ball. He is overly aggressive at times and can easily be tricked by the offensive scheme. Even with his long arms he does not show great hand usage or even a wide array of pass rush moves once the blocker has engaged him. .
SUMMARY - Devin Taylor is a three year starter at Defensive End for this Gamecock Defense that has steadily improved each season under Steve Spurrier. Over the last few seasons, South Carolina has churned out DEs, ala Melvin Ingram, and Devin fits the mold to be an impact player. He has a great physical presence to go along with the agility to make an immediate impact in the NFL. He is long and strong, so matching up physically should not be an issue. Where he needs drastic improvement is his understanding of his assignments and being more consistent in finding the football to make plays. He is seen as a possible OLB by some but his height make it very difficult for him to adjust in space or if being asked to cover. He is best suited to add a few pounds and stay at DE when getting into the league. During his first few seasons he should be at his best as a situational pass rusher which will allow him to use his natural burst at the snap and make an impact. Overall Taylor grades out best as a rotational DE that could start in two or three years but his lack of instinctual play will limit his upside which make him more of a 4th round guy and will keep him moving up draft boards in the 2013 NFL Draft.