Weight: 184 lbs.
High school: Detroit (MI) Highland Park
Jersey number: #6
Last year: I ranked Taylor #14 and said he would be a backup cornerback. He made 86 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 4 interceptions, 9 pass breakups, and 1 fumble recovery.
It was tough to read the defensive backfield going into 2013. It was clear that Thomas Gordon was going to start at safety, and it was clear that Blake Countess was going to start at corner. It also looked like Courtney Avery, previously a nickel corner, would start at the other safety or the other corner. Taylor was reportedly looking up at Avery until the injury, but then Taylor took over the starting corner job and didn't look back. (Meanwhile, Avery played both safety and corner but struggled in both spots.) Taylor played solidly all season and was perhaps Michigan's most consistent corner, while Countess had more of a knack for the big play. Taylor's season included 12 tackles against Michigan State, an interception against three solid Big Ten opponents (MSU, Iowa, Northwestern), and 4 pass breakups against Indiana. It's rare that a cornerback leads the team in tackles, but he edged out linebacker James Ross (86 to 85).
The 2014 season sees Michigan with a glut of cornerbacks, and it's almost frustrating to watch. There are so many good players that it's impossible for all of them to get a fair share of the playing time. The two most experienced guys - Taylor and Countess - have been running behind sophomore Jourdan Lewis and freshman Jabrill Peppers at times this fall. Lewis seems penciled in to start already, and the nickel corner position seems perfectly designed for Peppers. That might leave fourth-year players Taylor and Countess vying for the one open cornerback position, and that's not to mention sophomore Channing Stribling and senior Delonte Hollowell, both of whom have played quite a bit. If I had to guess right this moment, I would have to say that Countess would be that other starter with Taylor supporting both outside corners. How can an All-Big Ten player who was awarded Charles Woodson's #2 jersey suddenly become Michigan's fourth corner? With the way things appear to be shaking out, this is too high for Taylor, and if I'm being honest, I have no idea how the playing time at corner will shake out. It would be disappointing for Taylor to be a backup during his final season, but the best players have to play.
Prediction: Backup corner