Shakial Taylor has been here before.
As it happens, just last year.
“Taylor had been a long shot to impress the Colts this summer. Unsigned in the hours after the draft, Taylor earned his spot on the team’s 90-man roster with an incredible tryout at the team’s rookie minicamp, and he impressed with his aggressive style and a willingness to hit during training camp.”
In late November, he was cut by Indy and claimed by the Denver Broncos off waivers. Now the second-year cornerback is looking to recreate what he did with the Colts in Denver. Though this time he’d like it to stick.
#38 Shakial Taylor, CB
Age 23. 6’0”, 181 lbs.
Taylor knows what it takes to get noticed.
As noted earlier, he just did it.
One of the reasons Vic Fangio and the Broncos might have been interested is twofold — Taylor’s aggressive style and his willingness to hit. We know if you want to play cornerback for Fangio, you best be able to tackle. Those two traits are huge for Taylor in his battle to make Denver’s roster.
And don’t discount experience. Not in terms of NFL experience, but having to take advantage of your opportunities. That’s huge for a guy like Taylor to recall and build on. He can do what he did with Indy last summer but also improve the areas where he faltered.
The other factor that could benefit Taylor is his willingness to learn and put in the work.
When he got his chance prior to the Colts’ game at the Kansas City Chiefs, as the Star pointed out, Taylor watched extra film all week, put in overtime hours and spent as much time as he could picking the brain of young Indy cornerback Kenny Moore.
Rest assured Taylor has done the same with Denver’s veteran secondary in these wild times of COVID-19 and remote positional and team meetings.
But can Taylor survive the whole season? He wasn’t able to do that with the Colts.
Despite the fact Taylor impressed Indy in training camp and put in the work prior to the Chiefs game, he still got cut.
As the ColtsWire notes, Taylor was mostly a depth piece for Indy and he didn’t offer much on special teams. Once the Colts roster started to get healthy, a move was made to open a spot. The note about special teams doesn’t bode well for Taylor, especially if he wants to prove his worth against guys who can play special teams.
The other factor at play for Taylor is who he is competing against.
After A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan, you have guys who were on the field in Duke Dawson, Davontae Harris, and De’Vante Bausby before he got injured. There’s Alijah Holder who had his moments in Denver’s training camp last year. There’s also Isaac Yiadom, third-round pick Michael Ojemudia and undrafted free agent Essang Bassey.
Taylor knows how to stand out in a competition.
He has the traits that Fangio desires in cornerbacks who play in his defense.
At the same time, he has the experience of impressing and still getting cut. That could serve as extra motivation to work just a little harder and push even more this time around. To improve the areas he was weakest at in Indy.
After Bouye and Callahan, there are questions about the depth of Denver’s secondary. If Taylor is able to impress and take advantage of his opportunities with the Broncos, become an all-around cornerback and make an impact on special teams, he has a great shot to crack the roster.
At the very least, Taylor should find a spot on Denver’s practice squad.