Heaps: Why Seahawks are fired up about Darrell Taylor in training camp

Aug 4, 2021, 10:55 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
Seahawks Darrell Taylor...
Darrell Taylor may follow in the footsteps of Bruce Irvin in his role with the Seahawks. (Getty)

There were a lot of high hopes last year for defensive end Darrell Taylor after the Seahawks made the Tennessee product their 2020 second-round pick and disclosed that they had even considered taking him in the first round.

Huard: Most encouraging thing about Seahawks’ offense is TE group

Any hopes for his rookie season were dashed, however, as he never found his way onto the field due to a long recovery from leg surgery that he underwent after his final college game.

It may be time to revisit those high hopes, though.

Taylor is turning heads in Seahawks training camp, and he’s notably doing so at more than one position. Yes, he’s still in line to see time rushing the passer, but he’s also getting reps at Seattle’s strongside (SAM) linebacker spot, which is a combined role the Seahawks used in the past to success with one player in particular.

“They’re trying to mix it all together so (Taylor) can play both positions much like Bruce Irvin did during the Legion of Boom days,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps said on Tuesday’s edition of Jake and Stacy. “They already know what the role looks like, what they already have envisioned in terms of how it can be successful, and so I think that process is now just getting Darrell Taylor up to speed mentally so he can handle both aspects of it.”

Heaps, a former Seahawks quarterback, is hearing good things about Taylor’s progress in that respect, including from a perennial All-Pro.

“One of the impressions that I heard from (Taylor’s) teammates that blew me away was Bobby Wagner talking about how impressive he was not just physically on the field but mentally, as well,”  Heaps said. “One of the biggest things that you are concerned about with somebody like Darrell Taylor, who is being asked to try out at the SAM linebacker position, is he’s not just coming in in his first year being asked to rush the quarterback, being asked to be an edge defender… Now he’s (at SAM linebacker) being asked to read keys, understand play-action, where he’s supposed to get to in his coverage assignments as well as holding the edge and rushing the passer.

“When you have the legend, you have the Hall of Famer Bobby Wagner giving you a nod like that, that means that you are doing a lot of things right in camp thus far.”

That’s not the only praise Heaps is hearing about Taylor.

“What I’ve heard from guys on the team, from people within the building, they are fired up about what Darrell Taylor has been able to do so far in camp,” he said. “He’s another guy that I cannot wait to get my eyes on in full pads. He has looked explosive, he has looked fast, he is a big dude out there on the edge. Let’s see what he does when he can finally kind of let it all go when the pads come on.”

While Taylor is making strides at the SAM spot, there is a battle for playing time going on in camp. Heaps shared his thoughts on how he thinks that will shake out between Taylor, veteran pass rusher Aldon Smith and third-year linebacker Cody Barton.

“I think when you’re looking at Aldon Smith, you’re looking at Cody Barton, there’s going to be a strong split of the reps between the three of them, but at the same time I think you’re going to see it narrowed down pretty quickly to Darrell Taylor and Aldon Smith here in the next week or so.”

You can listen to Heaps on Taylor and much more in the Four-Down Territory segment in the podcast at this link or in the player below.

Video: Jake and Stacy’s Tuesday Seahawks training camp takeaways

Jake and Stacy

Seahawks Jamal Adams...
Brent Stecker

How much does losing Jamal Adams hurt the Seahawks?

The Seahawks will turn to Ryan Neal at strong safety with Jamal Adams' season over due to a shoulder injury. Jake Heaps breaks down what it means for the team.
1 day ago
WSU UW Huskies Jayden de Laura...
Brent Stecker

Jake Heaps reacts to new OC hires for UW Huskies, WSU Cougars

Both the UW Huskies and WSU Cougars are filling out their coaching staffs. Jake Heaps looks at the team's new offensive coordinators.
2 days ago
Seahawks RB Adrian Peterson...
Brandon Gustafson

What does veteran RB Adrian Peterson bring to the Seahawks?

The Seahawks have a new RB in veteran Adrian Peterson, who signed to the practice squad. Jake Heaps breaks down how Peterson fits the team.
6 days ago
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer, Jake Haener...
Brandon Gustafson

Heaps: The impact of Kalen DeBoer bringing Jake Haener back to UW Huskies

What happens if Jake Haener returns to the UW Huskies along with new HC Kalen DeBoer? 710's resident QB Jake Heaps shares his thoughts.
7 days ago
UW Huskies Kalen DeBoer...
Brandon Gustafson

Fresno St announcer: UW Huskies land ‘real deal’ in Kalen DeBoer

Fresno State announcer Paul Loeffler joined Jaks & Stacy to give a better understanding of who new UW Huskies HC Kalen DeBoer is.
8 days ago
Mariners Robbie Ray...
Brent Stecker

Ryan Rowland-Smith explains new Mariners ace Robbie Ray’s breakout

Robbie Ray comes to the Mariners after a 2021 season where everything seemed to click on his way to a Cy Young Award. Ex-MLB pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith shares his insight on why.
9 days ago
Heaps: Why Seahawks are fired up about Darrell Taylor in training camp