The Seattle Seahawks continue to look for answers to rush the passer! Did they find that answer for 2020 and beyond? Here’s who it is and why they will roll with the rookie!
It’s that time of year when rookies are all the rage. The NFL draft is complete. We know where everyone landed, and fantasy owners are consumed with rookie drafts. Now, what we all want to know is how each rookie fits in with his new team and what role they have immediately. While every team looks ahead to the future, some of them roll with the rookies right away. The Seahawks have a rookie that just very well might be a day one starter.
The Seattle Seahawks have been trying to upgrade their pass rush for the past few years. They have tried bringing in veterans, like Jadeveon Clowney and Sheldon Richardson, only to see them leave in free agency the following year. They have tried to draft youngsters to develop, but that hasn’t panned out yet either. That is until now! While the draft can be a crap-shoot I believe that they finally hit on this hand in 2020. They follow up in the second round by selecting Edge Darrell Taylor from Tennessee with the 48th overall pick of the NFL draft. This is a talented youngster. Seattle would be wise to roll with the rookie!
The Seahawks got a steal when they were able to draft Taylor in the second round. He has the experience and versatility to stand up as an outside linebacker or play with hand in the dirt as a defensive end. Taylor is a true pass rusher and is an impact player no matter where he plays. He led the Volunteers in sacks (16 ½) the past two seasons in the competitive Southeastern Conference. Taylor’s physical traits and frame are NFL ready right now. He has great burst and the bend to quickly get on top of the quarterback. His play strength and power allow him to bully would-be blockers. Taylor’s ability to corner and flatten sharply gets him to impact play position with no wasted movements. He has good hand use and punches that allow him to set the edge and stay in a position to make the play. Taylor held his own and won more often than not against elite SEC offensive tackles. His coverage skills are not ideal, but he’s no slouch either.
Senior stats: 13 games, 46 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 8½ sacks, 4 pass breakups, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery
Why do I think Seattle will roll with the rookie?
The Seahawks have been looking for that elite pass rusher ever since they let Michael Bennett walk away in free agency. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, they tried bringing in veterans such as Jadeveon Clowney (3 sacks & 30 pressures) and Sheldon Richardson (1 sack & 14 pressures). Both left after only one season in Seattle. The Seahawks also signed Ezekiel Ansah (2½ & 10 pressures) who was a shell of his former self after injuries. Seattle brought in veteran Bruce Irvin who had 8½ sacks and 23 pressures for the Carolina Panthers last season, but at age 32, he’s not the long term answer that they need. He’s a short term fix until they can find a young rookie to get up to speed and set in their lineup.
They tried drafting rookies such as Rasheem Green (5 sacks & 17 pressures) in 2018, who led the team with four sacks last season (WOOF). They also drafted LJ Collier who was nothing more than a depth piece as a rookie. As you can see, they have been striking out in finding a pass rusher. Green is still a player I believe in and who will improve, but he needs help.
With all the missed opportunities, this gives Darrell Taylor a great opportunity to plant his flag and show the Seahawks that he’s their pass rusher now and of the future. It would be smart of Seattle to roll with the rookie as a starter and get his learning curve out of the way now. When your leading pass rusher only had four sacks last season, what do you have to lose? You have to be able to pressure the QB to have a chance to win in this league. Taylor and veteran Bruce Irvin are a sufficient combo as starters with Rasheem Green as the backup for this season. They can grow with Taylor and Green as their bookends of the future.
What does this mean in the fantasy football world? Call me a homer if you’d like. I’m a Vol fan and rightfully so, but I have watched Darrell Taylor perform at an elite level in the SEC against elite starting offensive tackles. He has the game to be an elite pass rusher at the next level. I can easily see him leading the team in sacks as a rookie. His best value will come in deep position specific leagues as a rookie and then all leagues going forward. I don’t generally like to do player comps, but I do see a lot of Danielle Hunter in him. They both have similar frames, traits, and skillsets. I’m not saying he will be Hunter, but the similarities are there. Taylor will be a force for the Seahawks and fantasy owners for years to come.
In rookie drafts, Taylor’s value is a must-buy steal right now. He’s currently drafted, on average, pick 62. That is the 4th to 5th round depending on the league’s size. Taylor is the fourth defensive end being selected, behind Chase Young, Yetur Gross-Matos, and AJ Epenesa. With his current draft placement, he is a player that I see outperforming Gross-Matos and possibly Epenesa. Taylor has a great opportunity in Seattle, so make sure you get him on your fantasy teams. The Seahawks should roll with the rookie and so should you! You can thank me later!