Stepfan Taylor RB Stanford #33
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Size/Athleticism: Prototypical build for a feature back. Has the size to run between the tackles and take a pounding, but also has the athleticism to make guys miss.
Vision: One of the weaker areas of his game. Tends to take the handoff and plow straight ahead, often missing holes that open just outside of his narrow field of vision. He has the athleticism to change direction quickly, but he turns himself into more a true north/south runner by failing to remain patient and keep his head up.
Power: Not big enough to run many people over or push the pile, but he’ll break some tackles if he’s not wrapped up. He does a nice job staying low and giving defenders a small target, giving him the leverage necessary to get the most power out of his size. Always willing to pick up the tough yardage and won’t shy away from contact.
Speed/Agility: Adequate straight-line speed. Once he hits the open field, he’s a threat to take it the distance. Has very quick feet which allows him to maneuver in tight spaces. Change-of-direction ability is above average, but he doesn’t show it off nearly enough. Shows impressive athleticism and balance which allows him to keep moving forward after a hit – picks up a lot of extra yards that other smaller or softer running backs won’t find.
Passing Game: Reliable receiver out of the backfield. Targeted at least two or three times per game in college. Excels in pass protection. Very much willing to take on bigger defensive ends and linebackers. Will be a rare rookie at the next level capable of being a true three-down back.
Intangibles: Grew into a leadership role as a three-year starter. Smart player who does all the little things on the field to help out the team.
Durability: Three-year starter who remained healthy throughout his career.
Comments: Taylor reminds me of a poor man’s Trent Richardson. He has the size and athleticism to play at the next level and he does a lot of little things well to get the most out of his ability. However, he’s still developing some of the finer techniques of being an elite running back. His most noticeable flaw is his lack of vision, which all of the elite running backs have at the next level. If Taylor can remain more patient and cut down on the number of times he simply puts his head down and runs straight ahead, he’ll develop into a solid starter in the NFL.