The Washington Huskies have two intriguing cornerback prospects headed to the NFL this year. Although Elijah Molden has received a lot of 2021 NFL Draft buzz, Keith Taylor has flown somewhat under-the-radar. Well, that is until the Senior Bowl where he elevated his reputation considerably. How high can he rise come draft weekend?
Keith Taylor NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Washington
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’2 3/8″
- Weight: 191 pounds
- Wingspan: 76 1/8″
- Arms: 31″
- Hands: 9 1/2″
Tony Pauline’s Keith Taylor Scouting Report
Positives: Two-year starter coming off a terrific senior campaign. Aggressive, feisty, and battles receivers. Fires up the field defending the run. Instinctive, keeps the action in front of him, and shows outstanding route recognition facing the action. Displays a good burst to the ball out of his plant, physically beats down receivers to defend the throw, and plays through the whistle. Defeats blocks by tight ends to get upfield and make plays against the run.
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Negatives: Must improve and clean up his backpedal. Gave a big cushion to receivers last season. Struggles tracking the pass in man-to-man coverage.
Analysis: Taylor was a solid yet unspectacular corner at Washington who went on and had a terrific week of practice during the Senior Bowl. He has the size and skill to be a No. 2 cornerback in the NFL, but must clean up his techniques and consistently make plays with his back to the ball.
Keith Taylor Player Profile
Although he has flown under-the-radar in the 2021 NFL Draft process, Keith Taylor was an important part of the 2017 recruiting class for Washington. The Californian cornerback was a four-star recruit and the 27th overall player in the state. He first impressed as a sophomore at St. John Bosco before transferring to Servite High School for his junior year.
As a result of local transfer policy, he had to miss a substantial part of his junior season. However, he didn’t let that time go to waste. An accomplished track star, he worked on his speed setting a personal best of 10.89 seconds in the 100 meters. Washington had already offered him a scholarship prior to his junior season, and Taylor committed at the end of 2015.
Although other offers followed — including from Oregon, Arizona State, and California, he never wavered from his commitment. Washington’s faith in the cornerback was vindicated with a standout season as a senior. He earned First Team All-Trinity and Second Team All-County honors before leaving Servite to enroll with the Huskies.
Keith Taylor’s college football career at Washington
Kevin King and Sidney Jones’ departure to the NFL Draft gave Keith Taylor the opportunity to make an immediate impact. Although he wouldn’t start until his sophomore season, he saw playing time in all but one game as a true freshman. Setting a reputation as a tough-tackler, he logged at least one tackle in five different games. Additionally, he recorded his first career pass breakup against Cal.
During spring practices in 2018, he began to make a name for himself as a playmaker in the secondary, securing multiple interceptions. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t translate to game day.
He did, however, make crucial pass breakups in three consecutive games. Playing in every game with the first starts of his career he also reinforced his tough-tackling reputation. This was most importantly demonstrated with a tackle for loss in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Utah.
A pattern began to emerge in 2019
Once again, Taylor was exceptional in making interceptions in spring practice. However, he would fail to secure an interception in his entire career as a Washington cornerback. He did demonstrate ball skills with five pass breakups. He also set career-high single-game tackle figures with 9 tackles against Hawai’i and Washington State. His performances earned him the Earle T. Glant Tough Husky Award.
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In a shortened season, he finished his Huskies career with just four games. Some of his highlights include a pass breakup against Stanford and being honored with the team captaincy against Arizona. Following the season, Washington corner Keith Taylor declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
However, he would have one last chance to represent the Huskies. Earning an invite to the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl he got to don the helmet one last time. Displaying athleticism, competitiveness, disruptive ability, and tackling form, he impressed during the week of practice. In the game itself, he contributed 2 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 1 pass breakup. It was a performance that helped elevate Keith Taylor’s 2021 NFL Draft stock.
Keith Taylor’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
With prototypical size for the position, Washington cornerback Keith Taylor would best fit a team looking for a predominantly outside corner in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has some experience of playing multiple positions in the secondary, but his best use is as an outside corner.
His competitiveness combined with his length makes him a valuable asset for a team that plays a large percentage of press-man coverage. This way he can be disruptive at the line of scrimmage. Some team and need fits include the Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, and Atlanta Falcons.
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Oliver Hodgkinson is a staff writer for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson.