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    Leonard Taylor III’s Draft Profile | Miami (FL), DT Scouting Report

    If the 2024 NFL Draft is a measure of upside and potential, few scouting reports boast more potential than that of Miami DT Leonard Taylor III.

    If evaluations were about taking a prospect’s highest moments and projecting from that to their NFL career, there’s little reason to pass on Miami DT Leonard Taylor III with his 2024 NFL Draft scouting report. Taylor has one of the class’ highest ceilings — if he can reach it.

    Leonard Taylor III Draft Profile and Measurements

    • Height: 6’3 1/2″
    • Weight: 304 pounds
    • Length: 33 7/8″
    • Wingspan: 80 5/8″
    • Hand: 9″
    • Position: Defensive Tackle
    • School: Miami (FL)
    • Current Year: Junior

    Pedigree and production are two elements that are on Taylor’s side in his 2024 NFL Draft evaluation. The Hurricanes’ star was a consensus five-star recruit in the 2021 class, and he logged 23 tackles for a loss in his final year of high school.

    In 2021, as a true freshman at the ACC level, Taylor wasted no time putting his talents to use. He logged 8.5 TFLs and two sacks in a breakout campaign, and he upped the ante in 2022 with 10.5 TFLs and three sacks.

    However, the 2023 season was less bountiful for Taylor. Playing in 10 games, he secured just 3.5 TFLs and a singular sack. He appeared at the East-West Shrine Bowl but didn’t participate in practices, and then he put up non-elite testing numbers at the NFL Combine — numbers that contrast the film.

    There’s a sense that Taylor was able to use his high-level raw talent to flourish early on in his collegiate career, but he faded down the stretch. Improper usage played a role, as Taylor was lined up at 0-tech and 1-tech too often. But it’s also safe to say Taylor himself left more room to grow.

    Leonard Taylor III Scouting Report

    Strengths

    • Explosive, energetic athlete with lightning-quick reaction speed and snap timing.
    • Sports a lean, well-leveraged frame with efficient mass and elite proportional length.
    • Can generate impressive amounts of force with his speed-to-power rushes.
    • Leverages his base well on power rushes and can churn his legs to sustain power.
    • Can easily compress his frame through gaps while employing club-rip combos.
    • Able to win instantly against surging blockers with sudden, violent swim moves.
    • Able to process blocking angles quickly and instinctively act on that information.
    • Can work off his power with push-pull moves and stack quick swim moves in succession.
    • Can precisely target extensions off the snap and swim through blocks to enter gaps.
    • Weaponizes his explosiveness and leverage to power through gaps with hump moves.
    • Has the athleticism to stunt across the front and leverage his momentum into torque.
    • Can throttle up and use explosive capacity on demand to stress angles when stunting.
    • Flashes the necessary strength to stack blocks, absorb combos, and hold the line.
    • Able to deconstruct blocks, recover balance, and make plays in lateral pursuit.
    • Motor, while inconsistent at times, is unyielding in its best moments.

    Weaknesses

    • Without elite mass, lacks elite raw power at the point of attack.
    • Lacks the high-end play strength to slab front-side zone blocks and prevent movement.
    • Doesn’t have the strength or torque capacity to shed run blocks cleanly with consistency.
    • Naturally doesn’t have the mass to withstand double-teams consistently.
    • Balance is easily eroded against combo blocks and heavy power exertions.
    • At times lacks a pass-rush plan past initial power and is sometimes slow to adapt.
    • Can be more consistent stacking counters off of initial pass-rush moves later in reps.
    • At times, recoils against contact and drifts upright, stalling momentum and power load.
    • Lacks the required flexibility and ankle flexion to bend under blocks and sustain rushes.
    • Generally more of a linear athlete and struggles to flex through blocks or divert course.
    • Sometimes requires more patience after stacking blocks, giving up interior lanes.
    • Relative lack of growth could call developmental capacity into question.

    Current Draft Projection and Summary

    Taylor grades out as a top-100 prospect and an early-round talent at the DT position. Judging purely off talent, Taylor is one of the five most alluring physical specimens in the class, but where he goes in the 2024 NFL Draft ultimately depends on how teams view his work ethic and football character.

    Taylor’s production in 2023 wasn’t at the level it was in 2021 and 2022, but his high-level tools still show up on tape. Pound-for-pound, Taylor rivals Johnny Newton and Byron Murphy II as one of the most explosive DTs off the snap in the 2024 NFL Draft, and he carries his 304-pound frame about as easily as one can.

    Taylor is lean, hyper-explosive, and well-leveraged. He can convert his instant one-step burst and length into awesome raw power, both with extensions and body-weight collisions. He’s a dynamic gap invader who’s also flashed the ability to use active and precise hands to pry down extensions and swim past opponents.

    Beyond his raw athletic foundation, there are still concerns with Taylor. While he has enough in his pass-rush arsenal to generate excitement, he can still expand his arsenal and improve later in reps. Additionally, his overall flexibility is not a strength. His lack of elite ankle flexion, in particular, limits his versatility on stunts.

    KEEP READING: Top DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft

    Nevertheless, in the right scheme, with the right coaching and developmental temperament, Taylor could grow to become a high-level NFL starter. The ceiling is extremely high, and even if he fails to develop, he has some appeal as a tools-rich rotational 3-tech disruptor.

    Taylor is probably best as an even-front defensive tackle, where he can focus on attacking vertically more often. In both odd-front and even-front schemes, he has varied situational utility from 1-tech to 3-tech, and his composite tools make him a dangerous and disruptive force.

    All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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