Seahawks considered Taylor in 1st round, view him as top pass rusher

Apr 24, 2020, 10:54 PM | Updated: 11:08 pm
Seahawks DE Darrell Taylor...
The Seahawks traded up 11 spots in order to take Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor at 48. (Getty)

The Seahawks addressed their biggest need Friday night with the second-round selection of Tennessee pass rusher Darrell Lewis, who Seattle traded up 11 spots in order to grab.

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Not only did the Seahawks value him enough to trade up for him, he was under consideration for the first-round pick that ultimately was used on Texas Tech linebacker Jordyn Brooks Thursday night.

“A really effective day starting with Darrell. He was in consideration last night and our guys did a great job working their tails off to try to keep getting up to try and acquire him,” Seahawks general manager John Schneider told reporters after the third round was over. “… We view him as one of the very, very top pass rushers in this league. He played through a stress fracture last year in his leg in his fibula and he just sucked it up and ended up having surgery at the end of the year and our doctors feel good about him.”

The Seahawks started the day with the 59th and 64th picks, both in the second round, as well as pick 101 near the end of round 3. To move up to 48, Seattle sent picks 59 and 101 to the New York Jets.Snagging Taylor was a top priority for the team on the second day of the draft.

“From the get-go this morning, we were on it trying to move the whole way,” Schneider said. “We were trying to go up pretty high to get him.”

Whereas Brooks said he had not heard from the Seahawks after the combine and was surprised by the selection, Taylor was one rookie who the Seahawks were actually able to get an in-person visit with at their facility.

“He had a great visit with the staff. He was actually the last guy we had in before the quarantine came into effect,” Schneider said. “I’m just excited and I know the coaching staff is very excited about a guy that can really put his hand in the ground and jump off the ball and play with good leverage and effort and work his way back to the quarterback.”

Getting after the quarterback in 2020 is a must for the Seahawks, who had just 28 sacks in 2019, tied for the second-fewest in the NFL. Additionally, the team’s top defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney, remains unsigned.

“He’s a real edge player,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Taylor, who had 8.5 sacks at Tennessee his senior season. “He’s done some dropping (in coverage) but he’s mostly been a rusher. Really was effective when you look at him in his third down rushes when he was really determined … We really wanted to get a pass rusher if we could… Last night (with Brooks), John had him nailed the whole time of this is where this guy might come to us, we were waiting on it and it worked out great and the next shot was to try and get Taylor. It just worked out in excellent fashion for us.”

Carroll has always placed tremendous value on the “leo” position, a defensive end that’s typically longer and faster than other defensive linemen. In the past, Clowney, Frank Clark and Chris Clemons have filled that role. Taylor stands 6 foot 4 and weighs 267 pounds, and Carroll sees him filling that position for his defense.

“He’s exactly that. He’s right in that mold,” Carroll said when asked if Taylor is the prototypical leo. “The height-weight-speed thing is there, his aggressiveness is there, his flexibility, his savvy for turning the corner and doing the things that position calls for and the power that he has to finish. … We thought he was an absolute in-the-pocket guy for us so it was an easy evaluation in that regard, so we were very happy to get him and we know he’s going to have a chance to contribute early.”

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Seahawks considered Taylor in 1st round, view him as top pass rusher