Seahawks trade up to select Tennessee DE Darrell Taylor Jr. in second round

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Indiana v Tennessee

TaxSlayer Gator Bowl - Indiana v Tennessee

The Seahawks didn't wait around until their scheduled pick to make their first day of day two of the NFL Draft.

After moving up 11 spots in a trade with the New York Jets, the Seahawks drafted Tennessee defensive end Darrell Taylor Jr. with the 48th overall selection of the draft.

"He was in consideration last night and our guys did a great job of working their tails off to try to keep getting up to try to acquire him," Schneider said. "It was pretty hot. We view him as one of the very, very top rushers in this (class). "

Taylor was a three-year starter at Tennessee that had some injury concerns entering the draft. He played through a stress fracture in his shin last season in Knoxville.

"He played through a stress fracture last year in his leg, in his fibula and just sucked it up," Schneider said. "Then ended up having surgery at the end of the year. The doctors feel good about him. We've seen him run around ... We had him in for a visit. He had a great visit with the staff. He was actually the last guy we had in before the quarantine came into effect so just really excited and I know the coaching staff is really excited about him. A guy that can really put his hand in the ground and jump off the ball and play with leverage and effort.

"Quite frankly I think with Darryl it helped us that, you know, we were one of the few teams that were able to have our medical staff really get into it, put their hands on him and evaluate him further."

Despite the injury last season, Taylor was still productive as a pass rusher. He finished second in the SEC in both sacks and tackles for loss in back-to-back seasons as a junior and senior. Taylor had eight sacks in 2018 and 8.5 sacks last season for Tennessee.

"I have a really good long arm stab and I can use speed and power moves so I think I bring a lot to the table," Taylor said. "I have power, I have speed. I think I need to get better at using my hands and being more technical with that. Being coached up by the guys in Seattle, I think they’ll help me do that and now help me be the best pass rusher that the NFL will see this rookie season."

The Seahawks see Taylor as fulfilling the LEO pass rushing role previously occupied by Chris Clemons, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark during Pete Carroll's tenure as head coach.

"He is exactly that. He's right in that mold," Carroll said. "The height, weight, speed thing is there. His aggressiveness is there, his flexibility, his savvy for turning the corner and doing the things that that position calls for. The power he has to finish. He's got speed-to-power moves and there's enough ability there for him to do some dropping the few times that we do that when we mix our looks and all. We thought he was an absolute in-the-pocket guy for us. It was an easy evaluation in that regard so we're very happy to get him and we know he's going to have the chance to contribute."

The Seahawks sent their third-round selection, No. 101 overall, to the Jets in order to move up the 11 positions from their scheduled No. 59 overall pick.

Photo Credit: JACKSONVILLE, FL - JANUARY 02: Darrell Taylor #19 of the Tennessee Volunteers tackles Peyton Ramsey #12 of the Indiana Hoosiers in the first half of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl at TIAA Bank Field on January 2, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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