Seahawks 90-Man Roster Primer: Darrell Taylor

After suffering multiple setbacks in his road to recovery from a leg injury, Taylor missed the entirety of his rookie season. Now seemingly back to full strength and ready to finally make his NFL debut, the Seahawks have presented him with an even greater challenge: filling the shoes of K.J. Wright. Will their experiment at strongside linebacker pay off? Or will his development be stunted even further?
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With the calendar flipping to July and offseason programs recently wrapping up, NFL training camps will begin around the league in less than a month. To celebrate the new incoming season, we will be breaking down the Seahawks' 90-man roster over the next several weeks, exploring best and worst case scenarios and what to expect from each player entering the 2021 campaign.

Darrell Taylor, Linebacker/Defensive End

Height/Weight: 6-foot-4, 267 pounds

2020 Stats: N/A

Despite suffering a leg injury in college that required the insertion of a titanium rod during the pre-draft process, Taylor's potential proved enough for the Seahawks to fall in love with him. In trading up with the Jets in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, they surrendered a pair of day two selections for the chance to take the Tennessee alum. So far, however, their gamble is off to a rocky start. As the months went by since that late April evening, Taylor's leg did not improve, forcing him to miss the entire 2020 regular season. But the Seahawks securing the NFC West title bought him more time, eventually leading to his return to the practice field on the week of the team's wild card matchup against the Rams. Unfortunately for all Seattle-aligned parties involved, the season would come to an end there and Taylor's hopes of playing in his draft year were dashed. Six months later, he's healthy and been one of the stars of the team's offseason activities, though this year presents new, greater challenges. With K.J. Wright unlikely to return as a free agent and Seattle bolstering its depth at his natural position at LEO, Taylor's become the frontrunner to be the team's new strongside (SAM) linebacker in 2021. But while there's been nothing but positive affirmations coming from Taylor and his team thus far, health and adaptability still looms over the prospects of his first official season in the NFL. 

Best Case Scenario: Taylor proves fully capable of handling SAM duties, playing well in coverage and the open field while giving the Seahawks more pass rushing production than Wright and starting all 17 regular season games.

Worst Case Scenario: Taylor struggles to take to his new role, quickly losing the job to teammate Cody Barton and being relegated near the bottom of the team's LEO defensive end rotation.

What to Expect in 2021: Though he has all the athletic tools to succeed as a SAM linebacker, it would be unrealistic and unfair to Taylor to expect a flawless transition. Keep in mind he hasn't played in a football game that counts since the Gator Bowl on January 2, 2020. Getting back into football shape is one thing, but re-adapting to the flow of the game—now at the highest level of the sport, no less—is another. He'll certainly have his struggles, but the Seahawks have all the confidence in the world that he can figure things out and blossom into the player they dreamed about last offseason. If he can do that, he's the type of talent who could put coach Pete Carroll's defense over the top next season.

Previous Seahawks 90-Man Roster Primers

Alex McGough | Darvin Kidsy | Greg Eiland | Joshua Moon | Cam Sutton | Walter Palmore | Jared Hocker | Brad Lundblade | Aashari Crosswell | Myles Adams | Jon Rhattigan | Aaron Fuller | Bryan Mills I Jake Curhan | Jarrod Hewitt | Connor Wedington | Nate Evans | Danny Etling | John Ursua | Gavin Heslop | Pier-Oliver Lestage | Tamorrion Terry | Tommy Champion | Cody Thompson | Josh Johnson | Saivion Smith | Jordan Miller | Aaron Donkor | Robert Nkemdiche | Alex Collins | Tyler Mabry | Damarious Randall | Cade Johnson | Cedrick Lattimore | Phil Haynes | Geno Smith | Kyle Fuller | Travis Homer | Tyler Ott | Rasheem Green | Ben Burr-Kirven | Penny Hart | Jamarco Jones | Aldon Smith | DeeJay Dallas | Nick Bellore | Stone Forsythe | Colby Parkinson | Al Woods | Cedric Ogbuehi | Alton Robinson | Jordan Simmons | Pierre Desir | Ryan Neal | Tre Flowers | Michael Dickson | Jason Myers | Freddie Swain | Cody Barton | Bryan Mone | Benson Mayowa | Rashaad Penny | Ugo Amadi | Ethan Pocic | Tre Brown