NFL Draft

Beaufort High's Taylor picked in 4th round by Detroit Lions

Detroit GM likes Taylor's size and athleticism

sfastenau@beaufortgazette.comApril 27, 2013 


Devin Taylor, shown laughing during a practice with the South Carolina Gamecocks in December 2012, was taken in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions.

GERRY MELENDEZ — File -- The State (Columbia)

One of the biggest moments of Devin Taylor's young life played out in a way befitting the low-key 23-year-old.

When the former Beaufort High School football standout was selected Saturday by the Detroit Lions in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, he was at friend Logan Powell's house, watching the draft with former Eagles teammate Stanley Davis. No one else was home.

Taylor didn't receive any advance notice of the Lions' pick, but told Davis when Detroit was on the clock he would fit the team's personnel.

"I had no idea what to expect," Taylor said. "I was just happy for the moment that was given to me."

At the Lady's Island home where Taylor grew up, his mother, Sylvia Cuyler, watched the draft for the third consecutive day. After five defensive ends were selected in the fourth round before her son, Cuyler jumped in the car and drove to Maxway department store to clear her head. She received a call from her daughter and Taylor's sister, Demeka, breaking the news.

"It took them long enough," Cuyler said.

Taylor, who played four seasons at South Carolina and finished in the top 10 in career tackles for loss and sacks, was taken with pick No. 132. He met with the Lions before the East-West Shrine Game in January and sat for a formal interview with the team at the NFL scouting combine in February.

Detroit lost three defensive ends during the offseason and reloaded during the draft, using its first-round pick on Brigham Young end Ziggy Ansah and then grabbing Taylor, who said he impressed the Lions with his reach.

The 6-foot-7, 266-pound Taylor's combine profile included 36-inch arms. Schwartz said Taylor can play at either end in the Lions' 4-3 scheme.

"He can affect the passer a lot of different ways," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters.

Detroit never asked for a private workout, Taylor said. And he didn't work out for other teams after the combine. Instead he worked by himself in Columbia, checking in periodically with agent David Sullivan.

At South Carolina's pro day in March, Taylor strained a hamstring running his second 40-yard dash and wasn't able to participate in position drills. But the Lions saw what they wanted early, a dominating performance at the East-West Shrine Game. Taylor forced two fumbles, showed off his speed in the open field and beat Kansas lineman Tanner Hawkinson for a sack.

Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters he wanted to add size and athleticism with the team's picks.

"We think Devin is a guy who does that for us," he said.

Draft pundits poked at Taylor's lack of production after a breakout 2010 season when he was named all-Southeastern Conference. But his numbers at the combine, outside of the bench press, were among the best at his position.

And to help his pass-rushing, he worked with Bruce Smith, the NFL's all-time sacks leader, after the Gamecocks' bowl game.

"It helped me work with my hands a lot more right before the (East-West) all-star game," Taylor said. "I was able to relinquish different doubts or questions certain teams had about me."

Taylor will report in two weeks to Detroit's organized team activities -- or OTAs -- which are sessions before training camp designed to help develop new players. The NFL then conducts summer seminars to help acclimate incoming rookies.

Expect little hoopla from Taylor before reporting to work. His celebratory plans Saturday included getting food and visiting a friend.

Cuyler planned to meet up with her son later in the evening. She had returned to the house and calmed after the near-breakdown earlier in the day.

"We just wanted someone to pick him," she said. "You go where you have to go at and make the best of what you've got when you get there. That's it."

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