Yes, it was only a preseason game, but for a player that is poised to have a great year, it was extremely encouraging to see.
In the Detroit Lions‘ preseason opener this past Friday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, defensive end Devin Taylor would notch the first sack for Detroit. Three more sacks would be tallied for the Lions during the duration of the football game. Seeing Taylor come off the edge with his great speed and exceptional size to record the sack was a great sight.
With Jason Jones heading south to join the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, it’s now Jones’ time to really make a name for himself as he’ll play opposite of Ziggy Ansah and start at defensive end in the Motor City this coming season. Last season, Taylor recorded 7.5 sacks in 15 games for the Lions, though none of the 15 games came in a starting role.
Taylor is entering his fourth NFL season, all with Detroit. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of the University of South Carolina by the Lions. He’s been a depth defensive end his first three years in the league, but now sees himself with an opportunity that not every player gets the chance to have, the chance to be a starter in the league.
At 6-feet-7 inches tall, Taylor has tremendous size and can really match up well with opposing tight ends and offensive lineman. He’s solid off the edge with a great first step, exceptional vision, speed, and the ability to never give up on a play. Taylor works exceptionally hard to get better at the defensive end position and those are the kind of players you want starting on your football team.
Head coach Jim Caldwell expressed his thoughts on Taylor having the capability of having a bigger role heading into this season.
“I think, you look at him, he’s improved. He was a better player last year than he had been the previous year. He’s a better player that year than he was the year before that.”
“He works at it. And he’s also a guy that’s got some intestinal fortitude. So I think all of those things lend to a guy that could certainly play a little bit bigger role in the things that we do.”
Even Taylor himself seems very confident is his ability to take the starting job opposite Ziggy at defensive end and never look back.
“Coming in there’s a different level of confidence, especially from last year to this year, because you saw what you can do. Now, it’s seeing what you can do for an entire year.”
Posting 7.5 sacks in a limited role on defense is pretty impressive. He’ll look to add more sacks and make more great plays on the gridiron this season and beyond for the Lions. ‘Excitement’ is the word that comes to mind when thinking of how Devin Taylor is going to transition his limited role to a starting role. He’s worked hard to get to this point and it doesn’t sound like he’s going to let it go to waste.