2013 NFL Draft Prospects: RB Stepfan Taylor Scouting Report

Ezra Shaw

Could we see the Stanford star in the Denver Broncos backfield?

A guy who may be on the Broncos radar in the second or third round is Stanford runner Stepfan Taylor. Taylor a 5'9 217lb running back is mentioned as one of the better running backs in this years draft. According to CBSSports.com Taylor ranks as the 6th overall running back and the 89th overall player in the 2013 NFL Draft. Taylor could be an option for the Broncos in the 2nd and 3rd round.

Bio:

Taylor played 4 seasons at Stanford and had 3 very solid years. In his 4 seasons at Stanford he totaled a even 4300 yards rushing on 843 attempts. He had a yard per carry average of 5.1 and totaled 40 TD's on the ground. He also was very active in the passing game. In his career Taylor caught 97 balls for 778 yards and 5 TD's. All together Taylor totaled 5,078 total yards from scrimmage, and totaled 45 TD's.

Taylors best year came this prior season where he rushed for 1,530 yards(4.8 YPC), 13 TD's. He added 41 receptions for 271 yards and 2 TD's.

#33 Stepfan Taylor

Position: RB

Class: Senior

Date of birth: June 9, 1991 (age 21)

Height / Weight: 5-11 / 215

Arm Length: 29 5/8

Hand Length: 8 3/8

Major: Information Science and Technology in Society

AT STANFORD: One of the top running backs in the Pac-12 Conference...strong preseason candidate for the Doak Walker Award...figures prominently on many Stanford career lists entering his final season...ranks fourth on the school's all-time career list with 2,770 yards and needs 1,263 more to tie Darrin Nelson for first place...his 27 career rushing touchdowns are tied for third all-time with Brad Muster (1984-87)...needs 10 more to tie Tommy Vardell (1988-91) for second all-time...has 13 100-yard games, good for third all-time behind Gerhart (20) and Nelson (16)...is one of six Stanford backs to record a 1,000-yard season and just the third back to register back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, joining Nelson (1977-78) and Gerhart (2008-09).

2011: (JUNIOR): Second team All-Pac-12 selection...rushed for 1,330 yards on 242 carries (5.5)...averaged 102.3 yards per game which ranked fourth in the Pac-12 and 21st nationally...final single-season rushing total was the second highest mark in school history, behind Toby Gerhart's 2009 total of 1,871...became just the third back in Stanford history to rush for over 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, joining Darrin Nelson (1977-78) and Toby Gerhart (2008-09)...one of six Stanford backs to rush for over 1,000 yards, joining Nelson (1977, '78, '81), Brad Muster (1986), Jon Volpe (1988), Tommy Vardell (1991) and Toby Gerhart (2008 and '09)......had six 100-yard games on the season, highlighted by a career-best 177-yard, two-touchdown effort against Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.

2010: (SOPHOMORE): Honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection...led a Stanford ground game that averaged 213.8 yards and compiled the second-highest rushing total in school history with 2,779 yards...led the team with 1,137 yards on 223 carries (5.1)...became the first Stanford sophomore to rush for 1,000 yards since Darrin Nelson (1,061) in 1978....was just the sixth back in school history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season, joining Nelson (1977, '78, '81), Brad Muster (1986), Jon Volpe (1988), Tommy Vardell (1991) and Toby Gerhart (2008 and '09)...finished with 15 rushing touchdowns, which were tied for third on Stanford's all-time single-season list ...had seven, 100-yard games on the year, including a season-best 142 yard effort against Washington State...became just the second back in school history to rush for 100 yards in five straight games when he accomplished the feat against Notre Dame (108), Oregon (113), USC (104), Washington State (142) and Washington (104), joining Gerhart, who closed out his career with seven consecutive 100-yard games.... rushed for four touchdowns against Arizona, tying a school single-game record..

2009: (FRESHMAN): Appeared in all 13 games in his first year at Stanford...carried 56 times for 303 yards (5.4) to rank as the team's third leading rusher behind Gerhart and Luck...had two rushing touchdowns on the year, against Washington and Arizona State...

CAREER STATISTICS

Rushing G Att Yards Yds/Att Long TD Yds/G
2009 13 56 303 5.4 33 2 23.3
2011 13 242 1330 5.5 70 10 102.3
2012 13 302 1442 4.8 59 12 110.9
TOTAL 52 823 4212 5.1 70 39 81.0
2010 13 223 1137 5.1 62 15 87.5

Receiving G Rec Yards Yds/Rec Long TD Yds/G
2009 13 3 43 14.3 23 0 3.3
2010 13 28 266 9.5 59 1 20.5
2011 13 25 182 7.3 27 2 14.0
2012 13 38 270 7.1 40 2 20.8
TOTAL 52 94 761 8.1 59 5 14.6

Via: GoStanford.com

Draft Profile:

CBSSports.com Scouting report on Taylor:

Overview:

Taylor was a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com coming out of Mansfield (Texas) high school, where he rushed for a school record 4,792 yards and 67 touchdowns during a three-year varsity career.
It foreshadowed more record-breaking feats during his Stanford career.
Taylor appeared in all 13 games as a freshman, carrying 56 times for 303 yards, finishing third on the team in rushing behind Toby Gerhart and quarterback Andrew Luck.
In 2010, Taylor earned Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors after leading the Cardinal with 2,779 yards - the second-highest single-season rushing total in school history. He was the first Stanford sophomore to rush for more than 1,000 yards since Darrin Nelson in 1978. Taylor also had a nose for the end zone, with his 15 touchdowns the third-most in a single season for the Cardinal.
He continued his workhorse ways in 2011, improving to second-team all-conference honors with 1,330 yards on 5.5 yards per carry. It ranked behind only Gerhart's 1,871 yards in 2009 on Stanford's single-season rushing chart. Taylor was just the third running back in school history to post consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season, joining Nelson and Gerhart.
Taylor earned his second consecutive second-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2012 as he chased Stanford's all-time career rushing record.
Taylor lacks an elite top gear, but he does everything else well - if not outstanding. He has a well-built frame with powerful legs, is a solid receiver out of the backfield and isn't afraid to throw his body at oncoming blitzers, making Taylor a likely second- or third-round selection.

Analysis:

STRENGTHS:

Well-built with a thick, powerful lower half. Commits quickly to the hole and possesses adequate initial burst to clear it before it collapses.
Doesn't shy away from contact, and keeps his feet churning on impact. Keeps his weight forward through the hole and on contact, and is able to grind out the extra half-yard falling down. Protects the ball well through traffic, and exhibits awareness to shift the ball to his outside hand prior to engaging defenders.
Although his skill set suits a one-cut running system, he does display some shiftiness and wiggle to make defenders miss in space. Possesses surprising burst out of a redirect or stop-start.
Highly effective pass-catcher, consistently plucking the ball off his frame and looking it in before turning upfield. Gets his eyes upfield quickly after the catch and wastes little motion in transition.
Relied upon heavily at Stanford to stay home and pass protect, and did so effectively, particularly on cut-blocks and chips, where he displayed good physicality and use of low leverage.

WEAKNESSES:

Will get over-eager on set-up runs to the outside, and will out-pace his blocks as a result. Doesn't always spot the cutback lane, and will engage defenders head-on rather than utilize open lateral space. Is a low-step runner who is too easy to bring down at the ankles.
Can be indecisive when presented with multiple holes, and hesitation results in missed opportunity due to lack of elite initial burst. Runs a bit narrow-footed in space resulting in the occasional balance check when asked to jump-cut or move laterally with suddenness.
Is not a burner, and lacks a second gear to pull away from secondaries. Despite his knack for grinding out the extra yard, is not a pile-mover and lacks raw power to consistently pound out excessive yards after contact.

COMPARES TO: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals - Like Green-Ellis, Taylor does not possess any one elite physical tool or attribute, but brings an element of toughness and consistent production as a runner to go with highly-coveted versatility in the passing game as a receiver and blocker.--Derek Stephens

Via: CBSSports.com

NFL.coms Scouting report on Taylor:

GRADE - 75.6

OVERVIEW

Taylor showed great promise as an all-state back in Texas, rushing for 2,463 yards and 33 touchdowns as a high school senior. Coaches got him on the field in all 13 games as a true freshman in 2009, giving him 56 carries so he could pick up 303 yards and two touchdowns as a reserve behind Heisman Trophy finalist Toby Gerhart. He took the mantle from Gerhart in 2010, starting 12 of 13 games played, to gain 1,137 yards and scored 15 touchdowns as a sophomore. Season highlights included receiving honorable mention notice from league coaches, three touchdowns against Cal in The Big Game, and 114 yards on just 15 carries in the team’s Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech. Taylor, who earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2011, had another nice outing in the team’s 2012 Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State, rushing for 177 of his 1,330 total yards for the year and scoring two of his 10 touchdowns. In his final season, after the departure of Andrew Luck, Taylor rushed for 1,530 yards and 13 touchdowns on 322 carries.
Taylor has also become a bit of a YouTube sensation due to his "alternate personality" of Kulabafi. This is Taylor’s way of letting loose, and he often gets his teammates in on the act.

ANALYSIS

STRENGTHS:

Presents a thick overall build and good forward lean, making him a tough north-south runner to stop with an arm tackle. Running hard is never an issue, as defensive backs often find when trying to wrap him up. Flashes good quickness to offset before getting his body moving forward to receive the handoff, as well as enough burst to hit an open hole in a hurry. Possesses the vision and just enough speed to take advantage of an opening off-tackle if the inside gap is filled. Adjusts well to throws with his back to the quarterback and possesses the quickness and bullish running/stiff arm to beat defenders on the outside. Also displays good technique and skill in pass protection.

WEAKNESSES:

Average long speed won’t allow him to be a breakaway threat at the next level. Not quick enough to takes plays to the sideline or cut inside an oncoming defender once outside the tackles. Dances a bit inside when anticipating contact, too, throwing himself off-balance. Doesn't show tremendous explosiveness while still behind the line of scrimmage. Fails to consistently keep his legs moving upon contact with lineman and linebackers.

NFL COMPARISON: Chester Taylor

BOTTOM LINE:

The Cardinal’s running back proved this season that he was capable of maintaining his level of play even without Andrew Luck at QB. While he isn't exceptional in any one facet of the game, he is technically sound, and well-rounded. Taylor is possibly the safest back in this class due to his ability to not only pass protect, but to catch the football, which will make him invaluable on third downs. He is likely to go in the second or third round.

Via: NFL.com

Rantsports.com Scouting report on Taylor:

If you’re looking for a consistent, well-rounded running back in the 2013 NFL Draft, one route to take could be Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor.
Up until the 2012 season, Taylor played in the shadow of elite quarterback Andrew Luck, who helped carry the Cardinal back to national prominence. The 5’11’’, 208-pound runner was the unsung hero, though, putting the ground game on his back and consistently delivering when called upon.
When it comes to carrying the ball, Taylor brings a balanced approach to the ground game. He runs with patience, allowing his blockers to set up before bursting through the hole. When running through traffic, he does a good job of protecting the football and keeping his legs churning. Of the two ends of the running back spectrum – speed and power – Taylor fits into neither. He isn’t overwhelmingly fast and doesn’t possess brute strength, but has a solid mix of the two that allows him to be a consistent workhorse. Quickness and determination are what make Taylor an intriguing NFL prospect.
A jack-of-all-trades, Taylor is capable of providing a boost in just about every one of the typical running back duties. On top of being a terrific ball-carrier, he has proven to be a reliable option in the passing game as both an option out of the backfield and as a blocker. Just the fact that he’s so versatile and efficient makes him a viable option for a team looking to add a third-down running back to the mix.
Taylor’s receiving skills are commendable, especially considering he spent the last four years playing in a West Coast offense. The Cardinal runner has soft hands and does a great job of using them to bring passes in. His routes could use some work, but his overall skills are well-polished at this point.
One thing that NFL teams won’t have to worry about with Taylor is durability. Stanford’s dependable back has yet to suffer any serious injuries during his college career and never missed a game for the Cardinal.
Taylor may not be the explosive, home run threat that NFL teams are looking for in their running backs these days, but he has the versatility to do whatever is asked of him and more. If he can continue to build on his existing skills, especially as a third-down back, he could easily warrant a third or fourth-round pick.

Via: Rantsports.com

Videos:

Stepfan Taylor vs USC 2012

Stanford RB Stepfan Taylor vs Washington Stat

Stepfan Taylor vs Arizona and Washington 2011

My Take:

I like Taylor alot. I believe we could see a Doug Martin rise in Taylor year. Now i'm not comparing the two, i believe Martin was a much better prospect than Taylor, but there's similarities i believe. Taylor isn't great at anything, but solid at everything. He does lack a top gear which does hurt him some. But he's a solid power runner and is a solid option in the passing game. i'd love to see Denver take a look at him in the late 2nd or late 3rd round.

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