Seattle Seahawks linebacker Darrell Taylor did not play a single snap during his rookie season in the NFL last year.
The 2020 second-round pick out of the University of Tennessee struggled to fully recover from surgery that inserted a metal rod into his leg to address ongoing stress fractures. Taylor was on the non-football injury list for the entirety of the season, running out of time to make his debut with the team before their season came to an end with a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Rams in January.
Taylor is now back to full speed in Seattle and doing his best to make up for lost time.
“He continues to show the special speed and quickness and get-off that we’re counting on. He’s really rolling,” head coach Pete Carroll said on Wednesday. “Everything’s been going great for him. He’s learning a ton. He’s got a lot of stuff he’s got to pick up, but physically he looks like he’s the part to give you some special stuff on the edge and in the pass rush in particular.”
While Taylor was drafted as a defensive end, the Seahawks are looking to use his skills in a hybrid linebacker role. Similar to the way they deployed Bruce Irvin during his time in Seattle, Taylor will play strong-side linebacker in early downs while contributing to the pass rush units in passing situations.
Since he didn’t play as a rookie, Taylor could participate in the team’s rookie mini-camp this spring and got a jump start into work during OTAs. Carroll said at the time that Taylor had been a standout during the offseason work as they broke camp for the summer.
“He’s an exciting football player,” Carroll said in June. “His edge-rush ability, his athleticism, he’s got a really good burst off the football. The ability to play in space, as well as rush the passer. You can maybe see why we were frustrated last year that we didn’t have him. But now we’ve really seen him. We hadn’t really seen them with much to go on and really he had one of really the brightest camps.”