Seahawks 2021 Draft Profile: Keith Taylor

Over the course of the next several months, the Seahawks and 31 other teams will be evaluating the latest crop of incoming talent in preparation for the 2021 NFL draft. Today we take a look at a local cornerback who could fill Shaquill Griffin's shoes if he departs in free agency.
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Seattle is set to lose multiple cornerbacks from the 2020 squad, two of which totaled 18 starts last season in Shaquill Griffin and Quinton Dunbar. As it stands now, the only cornerbacks still under contract for next season are Tre Flowers, Ugo Amadi, and D.J. Reed, as well as future signings Gavin Heslop and Jordan Miller. Certainly, there is a dire need at corner if Seattle cannot re-sign one or both of Griffin and Dunbar.

After a strong showing in his first two seasons, Flowers took a step back in 2020, allowing a career high 77.5 percent completion percentage in seven starts. After three seasons, there are many question marks about whether or not Flowers can handle the everyday spot as an outside corner.

Reed is an intriguing option that came out of nowhere. Seattle acquired him off of waivers from the 49ers before the season started and he ended up starting eight games, hauling in two interceptions with a 75.8 passer rating allowed. An argument could be made that Reed is Seattle's best corner still under contract. 

Either way, depth is an issue. Seattle would love to bring in some cornerback competition in the draft and should look no further than its own backyard. There, they'll find local University of Washington product Keith Taylor.

Strengths

At first glance, Taylor looks the part of a Seahawks cornerback at just under 6-foot-3 with 31-inch arms. To give context, Richard Sherman measured in at 6-foot-3 with 32-inch arms. The former Husky has the length to hang with the wiry, long receivers that just about every offense has in the NFL these days.

The Long Beach, California native is experienced in press coverage. During Senior Bowl week, he displayed his coverage skills, successfully covering draft-hopeful receivers like Frank Darby out of Arizona State and Cornell Powell out of Clemson. He has the athleticism to play in multiple schemes in defending the pass. 

He is a willing tackler in the run game, which is another trait Seattle loves in cornerbacks. In 2019, he racked up 59 total tackles in 13 games including two for loss. 

Seattle likely would select Taylor to compete as an outside corner and he would fit that bill. 

Weaknesses

If there is a knock on Taylor, it's his lack of ball skills. In 29 games over four years, Taylor never recorded a single interception. During the Senior Bowl game, he broke up a pass that led to an interception, but Taylor himself did not catch it. In today's game, turnovers are key in an ever-growing passing league. 

What he possesses in length and stature he may lack in pure speed. When facing off against some of the faster, twitchier receivers in the NFL, he may struggle. 

At times, his aggressiveness gets the best of him and he gets caught looking in the backfield instead of sticking to his man or zone. 

Fit in Seattle

As mentioned, Seattle is thin at the cornerback position at the moment. Obviously, re-signing Griffin or Dunbar would change that. Even then, Seattle may still want to select another corner to mold into a typical Pete Carroll-esque defensive back. 

If neither former Seahawk returns, Taylor would enter a competition with Tre Flowers and D.J. Reed for two starting spots. However, Seattle loves deploying more than two corners at a time in certain packages and Taylor's skillset can be put to good use, even if Seattle re-signs a veteran corner. 

Most pundits have Taylor being selected early in day three, in the fourth or fifth round. Seattle currently has three picks in the fourth round or later. Given their turbulent situation at the position, it would behoove Seattle to select a corner in the 2021 draft.