Now that the draft is closing in, it’s becoming clearer and clearer which players are likely to get selected in the first round. However, there are six more rounds where impactful players can still be found. Linebacker Davion Taylor out of Colorado is a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on.
Taylor didn’t start playing football until college, but he’s an athletic specimen that has quickly become one of the highest upside players in the entire draft.
“Teams are more excited about my potential than curious about my background,” Taylor told The Athletic. “Not playing high school football means that I have so much more to learn. There is still a lot of room on my plate and teams can put a lot on there to help me become a great player.”
There are plenty of players in the NFL who didn’t have a ton of experience heading into the draft. Drafting Taylor would certainly have a level of risk, but if the investment isn’t too high, he could be a major steal.
Raiders Among Teams Interested
Before free agency, the Las Vegas Raiders had a massive need at linebacker. They were able to sign starters in Nick Kwiatkowski and Cory Littleton, so the team no longer needs to draft a linebacker in the first round. However, they really do need to add some good depth. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders are among the teams interested in Davion Taylor:
The Raiders are one of those hopeful teams, but any dreams that Taylor will still be on the board when they pick in the fourth round took a hit a month ago. That was when Taylor ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash — an improvement from 4.49 at the combine — and posted a 36-inch vertical jump at Colorado’s pro day in front of 31 NFL teams.
It was originally thought that Taylor would a fourth-round pick at the earliest, but he’s probably impressed enough to work his way up to the third round, per Tafur:
Taylor, after talking with teams, is hoping to get drafted in the late third round, and the Raiders’ fourth-round pick at 121 seems a long way away.
If the Raiders have to have Taylor, they have three third-round picks available. It’s much more appealing to get an unproven player like him in the fourth round. That said, if the team believes in his upside, they could be willing to take the risk.
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Do the Raiders Need More LBs?
The fact that the Raiders invested so heavily in linebacker during free agency will make it hard for general manager Mike Mayock to justify using a third-round pick to get another one. However, the team needs to build depth at the position. For too long has linebacker been the team’s biggest weakness. They need to start building a foundation of talented linebackers that will last.
Taylor is the perfect project for the team to have. He can learn behind proven veterans and gain the necessary experience. He’s not going to be ready to play for a couple of seasons because he’s so raw, but his talent is undeniable. Taylor is definitely a name to watch on draft night as he could keep rising up draft boards.