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Arizona Cardinals’ Rookie Profile: Stepfan Taylor

June 29th, 2013 at 12:29 PM
By Steve Smith

'University of Phoenix Stadium, Home of the Arizona Cardinals (3)' photo (c) 2009, Ken Lund - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The Arizona Cardinals really struggled with their rushing attack in 2012. They took a step towards rectifying that issue by drafting running back Stepfan Taylor of Stanford with their fifth round draft choice (140th overall) in this year's NFL Draft. He should add a dynamic dimension in Arizona's offensive scheme.

Let's take a look at his profile via nfl.com:

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 Less than average long speed won?t allow him to be a breakaway threat at the next level. Not quick enough to take plays to the sidelines 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 Stanford University running back proved last 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.

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Tags: Arizona, Arizona Cardinals, Chester Taylor, Football, NFL, Stepfan Taylor

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