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Arizona Cardinals Running Back Profile: Stepfan Taylor

November 13th, 2013 at 5:03 AM
By Steve Smith

'' photo (c) 2008, Seth Page - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
The 5-4 Arizona Cardinals selected running back Stepfan Taylor of Stanford in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft (140th overall pick).

Taylor has seen more playing time lately. In fact, he's had 16 of his 19 carries in the last two games. Although he's currently listed behind Rashard Mendenhall and Andre Ellington on the Cardinals depth chart, the Red Birds love his potential. Let's take an updated look at his scouting 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 in the NFL. 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 While he was at Stanford University last year, Taylor proved 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 currently behind several players on Arizona's running back depth chart but still appears to have solid upside. Excellent potential.

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