Undrafted free agent Alex Taylor a 6-9 tackle out of South Carolina State, will attempt to make the Cleveland Browns as a backup this year.
Taylor is a tackle out of South Carolina State in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference who began his career for the Appalachian State Mountaineers as a backup, and then transferred to South Carolina State to play basketball.
His coaches at South Carolina State help direct him back into football. Last season, he started 11 games and made first team All-MEAC at right tackle, and was a third team AP All-American.
According to nflcombineresults.com, Taylor measures 6-9 and 310-pounds with 36-inch arms. It’s not like 310 pounds is tiny, but scouts want to see him add some muscle mass to his tall frame. But he also turned in an outstanding 40 yard dash time at 5.10, which is very fast for an offensive lineman.
His ten yard split of 1.79 seconds was less exciting, however, and he put up 21 reps on the bench press and had a 25 inch vertical leap which is good but not great.
By comparison Austin Corbett measured 6-4 and 306-pounds, ran a 5.15 40, with 10 yard split of 1.76 seconds, 28 inch vertical and 19 reps on the bench press, and that was good enough to be the first pick on day two of the NFL draft in 2018. Taylor is very comparable to Corbett in terms of measurables.
The scouting buzz on Taylor is that he is a great physical prospect, but needs to be developed. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan can probably correct some bad habits for him. Arguably after another year on a total football program rather than splitting time with basketball, Taylor should become stronger and add some muscle mass.
With Taylor’s height and long arms, they at least have a player that looks like a tackle. For several years, the Browns have tended to find players that are kind of in-between being a tackle and a guard. Those guys almost never turn out to be true tackles. Corbett, Desmond Harrison, Drew Forbes and Chris Hubbard come to mind as recent examples.
To make the Browns, Taylor probably has to beat out Kendall Lamm. Lamm’s only problem has been staying healthy. Knee injuries limited him to only 82 snaps last year. He has started 24 NFL games in his career, and grades as a starter by Pro Football Focus.
If the knee injuries are taken care of, he will be hard to dislodge from his roster spot. However, if he still cannot stay healthy, the Browns might be able to carry Taylor as a backup, while recovering $2.35 million in cap space.
Previously, this author has suggest the Browns could clear some salary cap room and bring on Pro Bowl guard Larry Warford, not because he is a great fit to the wide zone scheme expected to be in vogue this season, but because he blocks well enough to play in Hawaii.
However, they could also stick with what they have and allow a player such as Taylor to help them provide depth on their line.