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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Leonard Taylor III (DL – Miami)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Leonard Taylor III (DL – Miami)

With being more than halfway through the College Football season, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Leonard Taylor.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Leonard Taylor III

Leonard Taylor III (DL – Miami)

6’3″ – 305 lbs.

Background:

Miami native who was one of the top recruits at his position coming out of high school. In a rotational role (nine appearances, 200 snaps) as a freshman, Taylor III put together an impressive line of 21-8.5-2.0. He started almost the entire 2022 campaign (two games as a reserve) and finished with 329 snaps and a 24-10.5-3.0 line. Taylor III reprised that role this season.

Positives:

A three-year contributor with relatively consistent season-to-season play. Thickly-built nose tackle who is capable of lining up as either the zero-technique or one-technique, but more frequently played the former during the games reviewed. Plays with a physical temperament and relentless motor. Fires out of his stance with explosiveness and violence to create plenty of disruption. Functional strength is excellent. Shows good knee-bend and leverage to generate movement with his bull-rush, keeping his legs churning to generate push. Has strong hands to jolt opponents on contact, and can discard them easily when two-gapping in the run game. Generates a lot of torque with his upper body to sling down some opponents. Helps set the tone defensively with big hits and tackles. Was more frequently attacking opponents, but has the lower-body strength to hold the point of attack as well. Active with his hands when rushing the passer and flashes the ability to win without solely relying on his bull-rush. Draws some extra attention on passing downs. Gets his hands up to contest passing lanes.

Negatives:

Frame might not fit perfectly into some odd defensive fronts. Can be a bit overly aggressive at times which leads to some balance issues. Recognition skills are a bit of a work in progress; would like to see a bit more patience and discipline to control blockers, and can struggle to locate the ball at times. Would like to see a little bit more variety in his rush approach. He has some effective moves he can use but can be too reliant on his bull-rush at times.

Summary:

An incredibly explosive, powerful interior defensive lineman who plays the game with physicality and aggression which allows him to frequently overwhelm opponents on the interior. Taylor III is already a one-man wrecking crew, but he could be really special if he continues to polish his awareness/recognition skills and play with a little bit more discipline. With his pro-ready build and positional/schematic versatility, looks like a solid bet to be one of the first defensive linemen off the board in this year’s class.

Projection: Round 1

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