Cliff Avril: What Seahawks’ Taylor needs to become ‘better than me’

May 9, 2023, 4:04 PM

Seattle Seahawks Darrell Taylor...

Darrell Taylor reacts after a play against the the New York Jets on Jan. 1, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks had no shortage of defensive stars during the glory days of the Legion of Boom.

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Seattle’s secondary had regular Pro Bowlers and All-Pros like Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor making life difficult for opposing passing games while Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright did a bit of everything from the linebacker spot in the middle of the Seahawks’ defense.

And on the defensive line, the Hawks had a number of big-name stars getting after the quarterback, including Cliff Avril, who had 34.5 sacks in five seasons in Seattle.

Avril was a key member of the Seahawks’ Super Bowl title team in 2013, and he obviously knows a ton about getting after opposing quarterbacks.

On Monday, the former Pro Bowler joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob for an hour in studio, and part of that conversation was centered on a pass-rusher Avril holds in extremely high regard.

“I like DT. I like Darrell Taylor’s game,” Avril said.

Taylor, 26, was the Seahawks’ second-round pick out of Tennessee in 2020, but missed his entire rookie season due to a leg injury.

Taylor became a key part of Seattle’s defense in 2021, though, registering 6.5 sacks. And then in 2022, Taylor had 9.5 sacks, which was tied for the team lead. He also forced four fumbles.

Now, Taylor is set to enter his fourth season, which is also the last year of his rookie contract. What does the Tennessee product need to improve upon?

“I think consistency (is the main thing for him),” Avril said. “And I tell all these guys this every time I meet with them, I’m like, ‘Consistency is the name of the game,’ right?”

That goes well beyond just increasing the amount of sacks that Taylor gets in 2023, Avril said.

“Making the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket might not necessarily show up in the stat, but a coach will take a guy that gets you eight sacks but has 50 hurries in a season over a guy that gets you 15 sacks and that’s all he gets you for the season,” Avril said. Per Pro Football Reference, Taylor had 21 hurries in 2021 and 20 in 2022.

If Taylor does get more consistent, Avril sees some very big things for the young pass-rusher.

“I think once he gets consistent, he can be special. Better than me, for sure, because he has some stuff that you just can’t coach as far as how he leans and his just natural ability,” Avril said.

Listen to the full hour of Avril in studio with Wyman and Bob at this link or in the player below.

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