Selected 48th overall in the second round by the Seahawks, who traded up 11 picks to get him, Darrell Taylor is eager to show Seattle just what they got.
The 23-year old Taylor was named a defensive captain during the 2019 season at Rocky Top, a season that saw the Volunteers surge to eight wins after an 0-2 start. Despite racking up 8.5 sacks during his senior campaign, the Virginia native was left unsatisfied due to playing with a stress fracture in his shin for most of the season.
“I still had an impressive year, but I think it could have been better if it wasn’t there obviously," Taylor commented. "I played through it and I think I had a pretty good season. I made the decision to play in my bowl game and that was one of the best decisions I made because it was the last game that I got to play with my teammates and it was a really cool to have that moment and win that game and to have that experience.”
In the aforementioned bowl game, the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Indiana, Taylor wreaked havoc to the tune of six tackles and 1.5 sacks. His best game of 2019 came against SEC rival Mississippi State, where Taylor collected five tackles, two of them for loss, 2.0 sacks, and a fumble forced.
Over his final two seasons at Tennessee, Taylor accumulated 16.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss, constantly disrupting operations in the opposing backfield.
After undergoing surgery in late January, Taylor is working tirelessly to be at 100 percent by the time practice starts. His basketball background testifies to his athletic ability on the football field and he uses those skills to his advantage when rushing the passer.
“I played basketball my whole life and I played football all my life. Just running around when I was younger and when I got on the basketball court, it felt pretty natural. The football field was like my realm, it felt like I was at home. No one could touch me when I was on that field so I would say I could attribute that to being an athletic basketball player.”
His realm now consists of being a member of the Seahawks and playing in front of the 12s. Fans are eager to see an improved pass rush in Seattle and Taylor will help that cause immediately.
Along with his pass rushing abilities displayed in college football's superior conference, the SEC, Taylor's love for the outdoors will also translate well to life as a Seahawk.
"I’m an outdoors person so when I got the chance to just drive around the city just a little bit for like five minutes, I got a chance to look up and see all the trees and everything. I got to see how pretty and green it was out there. I think that was the most eye-catching thing to me because I love the outdoors.”
As a father of a one-year old, Taylor comes in with a perspective on life that many NFL rookies do not have, checking off a box that seemed to be even more important to the Seahawks in this draft than usual.
"I think it’s been a great experience being a father and learning how to become a man each and every day and how to be a father to him each and every day. I think it’s been a great experience being able to play college football, work on my academics and be a father to my son Ka’marii.”
Seattle trading up from the 59th slot to 48th in order to select Taylor shows how highly the Seahawks brass thinks of the former Volunteer. With Seattle having the second-lowest sack total in the NFL in 2019, his presence will be a welcome addition to the pass rushing committee and he should be the face of the Seahawks' future in that regard.