Fourth-Round Selection Taylor Likes Idea of Playing the Run
INDIANAPOLIS – Terrance Taylor has a clear idea of his job description.
And he doesn't mind it. Not a bit.
Taylor, a defensive tackle from the University of Michigan, became one of several imant recent additions on the interior of the defensive line when the Colts selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft late last month.
Taylor's a big guy who Colts President Bill Polian called a prototypical nose tackle.
And Taylor said he understands the Colts' draft-day strategy.
"They're wanting to stop the run and they went out and got a couple of run-stoppers," Taylor said during the Colts' recent three-day mini-camp, held a little less than a week after the draft.
Taylor was one of two defensive tackles selected by the Colts on draft weekend, with the other being Fili Moala of Southern California.
And whereas Polian said Moala wasn't the true "Big Guy" at defensive tackle many observers discuss, he said Taylor very much fit the nose-tackle role the Colts haven't used in recent seasons.
"He's a wide body and a guy with explosion," Polian said shortly after the draft. "He's a true nose tackle. That's something we felt like we needed to add in terms of how we structure the defense.
"He's a prototypical nose tackle."
Taylor, Polian and Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell each said, was part of an overall draft-day effort to improve a rushing defense that finished 24th in the NFL last season.
"We felt like we wanted to be better against the run up front, particularly at the tackle position and we did that," Polian said.
Said Taylor, "They wanted two run-stoppers and that's what they got. I think I'm the best run-stopper they could have found. I'm going to do my job to the fullest extent. I'm not going to let anybody try to run up the middle.
"I feel like this is a good fit. I'm happy they chose me. I'm grateful and I'm ready."
Taylor (6-feet-0, 312 pounds), the No. 136 overall selection in the fourth round, started three seasons at nose tackle for Michigan, opening 36 games and registering 17.5 tackles for loss and six sacks.
He had four tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks this past season as a senior.
Taylor said the Wolverines' style of play helped him adapt to the NFL, not to mention the style of play he faced weekly in the physical run-heavy Big Ten Conference.
"Coming from Michigan and the Big Ten, they run the ball a lot," Taylor said. "I stopped the run a lot of times there, so if they're wanting me to be a run-stopper first and then a pass-rusher, then that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do everything in my power to stop the run at the nose(tackle) position, even at the three(-technique) if they move me there. . . .
"Coming from Michigan, it gets you ready for the NFL, the practices and stuff."
One of the most notable first impressions for many Colts defensive linemen often is meeting line coach John Teerlinck, a longtime veteran of NFL coaching and of league's top coaches at the position.
Taylor's first impressions of Teerlinck?
Vivid. And positive, too.
"I like him a lot," Taylor said. "He's a man who knows what he's talking about. He's been in the league coaching a long time and he has players to prove he knows what he's talking about. I'm going to learn a lot from him and I'm ready to get started."
Taylor began working with Teerlinck at the Colts' 2009 rookie mini-camp, a three-day event where he and seven other 2009 draft selections and 13 free-agent signees began getting acclimated to the Colts' way of doing things. Taylor said while he learned much that weekend, he expects he'll have far more to learn in the coming months.
"It really hasn't set in yet, but I'm pretty sure when we get to practice at camp and Peyton Manning's back there making his signals and stuff like that, it will probably set in," he said. "But right now I'm just focused on my technique and learning the defense and really paying attention, because right now, what mini-camp is for is hands-on, one-on-one attention from the coaches.
"So I've been trying to take that in and take as much information back home so when I come back I'll be a little brighter."