The Mold: What scouts look for in players
Over the next few weeks SportsRuckus will be releasing our list of players that have perfectly fit the mold that teams and scouts are constantly searching for. We will be looking at one player per position that fits that mold. Safety position – Prototype Sean Taylor – Think Earl Thomas with Kam Chancellor’s size and hitting ability, the ability to cover slot receivers and the nastiness of ….. He possessed the holy grail of football players.
First time I watched him play at the U, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. He was the ultimate weapon. I watched him cover Larry Fitzgerald one game and the next game he hit a Florida State receiver and made him do a reverse somersault while dislodging the football. On a team full of future 1st round draft picks Taylor stood out most. Sean started for 2 seasons and after a junior season where he led the nation with 10 ints and was named a 1st team All American, he decided to declare for the NFL draft.
As I went back and looked at some scouting reports of him leading up to the draft, I was unsure if the player they were talking about was even a human, Here’s a piece Strength: Sean Taylor is well above average size for a free safety. Sean Taylor has above average speed for a free safety. Sean Taylor has extraordinary athleticism for any position. Sean Taylor has great hands and ball instincts. He is a runner in the mold of Bo Jackson after an interception. Sean Taylor is a better, more punishing tackler and run stopper than most Strong Safeties. Sean Taylor has better coverage skills than some of the cornerbacks picked in the first round. Sean Taylor’s size allows him to match up well in coverage against big receivers and tight ends.Sean Taylor is the most physically gifted safety to ever enter the NFL out of college. His size/athleticism combination puts him in the same category as Boss Bailey, Junior Seau, and Lavar Arrington.
His intincts put him in a class of his own. Outlook Opinion: Sean Taylor is more ideal than the previous NFL ideal. Sean Taylor is the new ideal. Sean Taylor may be best safety in the NFL today. Sean has the tools, physical and mental, to be the best safety in NFL history. Sean Taylor is the most sure-fire draft pick since Champ Bailey” Sounds like a superhero doesn’t it? Sean Taylor was drafted 5th overall by the Washington Redskins. Taylor stepped right in as the same playmaker that he was in college. He played the game with passion and at 1000 mph. Sean was an intimidating presence in the deep middle of the field for the Redskins.
He was equally adept at attacking the ball going for an interception or attacking a receiver with his bone crushing hits. If you go watch some of his old highlights it won’t take long to see why Taylor was given the nickname “Meast ” (half man- half beast) by his teammates. Sean was a pro bowler in 2006 and 2007, he was also named an All Pro in 2007. As good as he was, Sean was just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. He was going through the maturation process, on the field where he was starting to become a leader and off the field. Many credit the changes in him back to the birth of his daughter.
Unfortunately Sean was murdered in 2007 while protecting his family. Sean Taylor was only 24 years old at the time of his death. Sean was on his way to fulfilling his great potential and maybe being the best to ever play the safety position. However, he left his mark on the game, college and professionally, and he will never be forgotten. It’s funny that sometimes a player that doesn’t even know you exist can be so great that you actually feel a bond with him. I still watch his highlights to remind myself how great he was. All I can say is Thank You for the memories. Sean Taylor definitely broke “The Mold”.