Niners Live breaks down the game of fifth round pick wide receiver Trent Taylor. We believe he has the skill set, attitude, toughness and football IQ to excel in the slot and on special teams like New England Patriot’s Julian Edelman and Atlanta Falcon’s Taylor Gabriel.
Trent Taylor, 5’8 181 lbs., makes big plays and puts up big production. Despite his lack of ideal height and weight, Taylor excelled in his four years at Louisiana Tech. His senior year he led the nation with 1,803 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished second in receptions with 136. Taylor has exceptional hands and is a terror after the catch. He possesses above average elusiveness in the open field, using stiff arms, spin moves, cutbacks and sheer fight to avoid being tackled.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan thought so highly of Taylor and his run after the catch skills that he labeled him his draft crush.
“He was very quick. His body’s always under him. He can make cuts. I thought what impressed me the most about him, besides the separation ability, is that when he did get the ball in his hands, he ran angry and pissed off. He got up the field. He’s not scared to get hit. He’s very competitive, a violent runner, and those are the guys to me who keep you on the field and move the chains,” Shanahan said in a post-draft interview.
Taylor also has experience on special teams as a punt returner, which is where Edelman and Gabriel made their initial mark in the league. The punt returner role is where Taylor has the best chance to make his mark his rookie year. Veteran WR Jeremy Kerley, the “Open Man”, will be the starting slot receiver heading into the 2017 season.
His intangibles were another key factor that convinced the front office that he would be a successful player in the NFL. Adam Peters, vice president of player personnel, recently shared his thoughts on Taylor in an interview via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The thing that set him apart is just his overall knowledge and dedication to the game: Just trying to be better at everything he does. He knows he’s not as big, and tall, and fast as some other guys. So he worked on all the things that can separate him. I think it’s just his will and competitive nature that separated him from some other guys.” Stated Peters.
Taylor himself likes his potential in Shanahan’s offense. He has watched film on the Falcons and keyed in on Gabriel because they will have a similar role. He believes his ability to get separation, but even more his fighter, prove you wrong/dog mentality is one of his best traits. Taylor has always been overlooked because of his size, so he goes out every play to prove those doubters wrong. He played safety and corner in high school and broke a player’s jaw on a tackle once, ala he plays “Angry.” Via the team’s website.
Taylor may be undersized, but his love for the game and work ethic is supersized. He is a very productive sure-handed receiver, who is dangerous in the open field. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is built around getting players in open space, which is Taylor’s forte. Look for Taylor to be a key contributor on special teams and a chain moving, big play machine in Shanahan’s offense. The slot position is the new fad position in the NFL and Taylor has proved he has mastered the position at Louisiana Tech. He will be a core building block in the future of the franchise.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jimi Payne Staff Writer at Niners live. Co-Author, Editor NinersLive.