The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Virginia Tech linebacker Bruce Taylor:
— Mike Stancik (@MikeMoooch) April 28, 2013
Virginia Tech’s Bruce Taylor enjoyed a fine career but he never took the next stop that seemed possible after a breakout 2010 campaign in which he posted 91 tackles, including 15.5 tackles for loss and six sacks. His junior campaign started off well but a Lisfranc injury robbed him of the final four games and while the physicality he’d played with throughout his career certainly remained in 2012, Taylor didn’t cap his career as dominately as scouts had hoped. He seemed to play better as the year went on, however, leading to some speculation that he’ll be even better in 2013 after a full removed from the serious foot injury that had ruined seasons for NFL stars Santonio Holmes, Darren McFadden and Matt Schaub, among others, in recent years. – Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com
2012 Honorable Mention All-ACC
2012 Honorable Mention Coaches All-ACC
2011 Honorable Mention All-ACC
2012: An honorable mention All-ACC and Coaches All-ACC selection at linebacker … Started and played in 12 games … Played 789 plays, including 761 on defense and 28 on special teams … Helped out on six tackles as he was in on all 74 defensive snaps in the opener against Georgia Tech … Led the team with 11 tackles at Pittsburgh … Had six tackles and two hurries against Bowling Green … Forced a fumble while adding two hurries and seven tackles against Cincinnati … Had four tackles including one for loss at North Carolina … Made eight tackles against Duke … Delivered a 16-yard loss on a sack as part of his seven tackles at Clemson … Made two tackles at Miami … Had three tackles including a sack for a nine-yard loss against Florida State … Tallied nine tackles, including two sacks for a 13-yard loss, also adding two hurries and a breakup at Boston College … Had two hurries and two breakups, to go along with a sack for an eight-yard loss against Virginia … Led the Hokies with 11 tackles, also adding a breakup and a hurry in the overtime defeat of Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
STRENGTHS: Long, muscular athletic-looking frame with ideal bulk to play the inside. Diagnoses the run early and takes sound angles to the football. Disciplined tackler who rarely overpursues. Maintains line of pursuit through contact and displays good closing burst. Exhibits good awareness and vision to track the runner through traffic. Adequate suddenness to stop and start, break down in space and redirect to mirror a ballcarrier. Exhibits anchoring strength to hold position and contain the edge against the pulling guard or outside tackle. Good use of arm extension and hands to shed blocks at the line of scrimmage. Possesses some raw, natural power to set the edge and funnel the runner back inside. Displays edge contain discipline and patience on the backside to allow play to develop before collapsing. Diagnoses and closes well on plays in front of him.
WEAKNESSES: Locks onto backfield assignment and is susceptible to play-action. Late to break on plays to the opposite side of the field. Doesn’t display a lot of fluidity in his drops or lateral movement, and lacks consistent awareness of what’s happening behind him on zone drops. Doesn’t possess the straight-line speed that pass-focused NFL defenses prefer in their linebackers. Relies more on closing burst than first step as he lacks initial explosion from a stop. Has limited range sideline-to-sideline and is best suited playing in a box inside, rather than in space.
COMPARES TO: Jasper Brinkley, MLB, Minnesota Vikings – Taylor, like Brinkley, is a “downhill” linebacker who plays best in situations in which he can utilize his physicality and instincts to make plays around the line of scrimmage. He played a little bit of everywhere at Virginia Tech, but would be best suited playing inside on running downs at the next level where his limitations in space won’t be as apparent. A mid- to late-round prospect as a dependable run-stopper and special teams contributor without a lot of upside.