Alontae Taylor Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Report
CB, Tennessee, #2
Alontae Taylor’s Scouting Report Measurements
6’0” / 199
Arms: 32 ¼”
Hands: 9 ⅛”
Alontae Taylor NFL Draft Profile
The 2022 NFL Draft features a star-studded cornerback class, highlighted by names like Derek Stingley Jr. and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner. However, this year’s class also offers a number of depth options at the position. Alontae Taylor is one of many cornerbacks vying for a mid-round selection. Let’s explore what makes the former Volunteer stand out amongst the rest.
This past season, Alontae Taylor emerged as the heartbeat of Tennessee’s defense. The cornerback posted career-highs across the board. Taylor recorded 60 tackles and two interceptions through 12 games (full stats here). A former four-star recruit, Taylor was originally slated to play wide receiver before making the transition to cornerback. A fortunate decision, which would see him quickly develop into one of the more impactful defensive players in the SEC. Over his four years in Knoxville, Taylor served as a consistent contributor, notching 31 starts across 45 total appearances.
Similarly, Taylor played an important role off the field in Tennessee’s program. The 3-time member of the academic honor roll served as Tennessee’s representative on the SEC Football Leadership Council, and was mentioned by the program as an “instrumental voice” in the league’s decision to return to play during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alontae Taylor Strengths
Alontae Taylor has continually demonstrated a high level of character throughout his collegiate career. A key special teams contributor and defensive standout, Taylor was seen as a leader both on and off the field for the Volunteers. It is evident he plays with an edge on film. He is an active, physical corner capable of disrupting opponents at the line of scrimmage. This aggressive demeanor was key in Taylor’s success at the collegiate level.
In addition, the Tennessee native routinely displayed the toughness necessary to succeed at the professional level. He played through multiple injuries during his time in Knoxville and continually fought his way onto the field. This toughness, as well as his willingness to play in a variety of roles, will allow Taylor to make an immediate impact.
Alontae Taylor’s positional awareness and football intelligence allow him to anticipate routes and contribute consistently in run support. Having started the majority of his contests over the past four seasons, Taylor has developed a strong understanding of offensive concepts. He is an alert zone defender. Taylor is aware of his positioning, and does a good job reacting to throws. In man coverage, his football IQ allows him to hide some of his deficiencies using his length and straight-line speed.
This isn’t to say Taylor lacks the athleticism for the position. His 4.36 40-yard dash and long frame provide a solid foundation for success as a boundary corner at the NFL level. In a pick-six this past season against Kentucky, Taylor showed off his unique combination of football IQ and athleticism. He was able to jump in front of a short pass and take it 56 yards for the score.
Alontae Taylor Weaknesses
Alontae Taylor lacks the desired flexibility for the position, and often struggles to demonstrate fluid footwork in coverage. Taylor struggles to flip his hips, change direction, and transition quickly from his backpedal to the point of attack. Concerns with his short-area quickness will be key in determining Taylor’s role at the NFL level. Although his hips may improve with proper coaching, his lack of flexibility will make him a liability in certain situations. Agile route runners will be able to create space and separation against him. Also, his transitional quickness will lead to issues in off-man coverage. Ultimately, he may be limited to playing outside in a zone-heavy scheme, until either his flexibility or quickness improves.
As I previously mentioned, Alontae Taylor’s demeanor allows him to succeed in a variety of roles. It was a key factor in his success on special teams, as well as defensively for Tennessee. However, this aggressive demeanor can also lead to mistakes in both coverage and run support. His tendency to gamble on double moves can allow savvy receivers to create separation. Furthermore, this aggressiveness can lead to poor technique when tackling. This is becuase he focuses on the hit rather than wrapping up. This especially poses an issue in run defending. Despite his willingness to attack the ball, he missed a number of open-field tackles. Balancing his physical play with an added level of patience will be key in Taylor’s development.
Alontae Taylor Draft Stock
Alontae Taylor profiles as a smart, tough cornerback with the ability to contribute immediately as a rotational piece. His experience against elite competition, positional awareness, and willingness to contribute in a variety of roles will be enticing to teams looking to bolster the depth of their defensive backfield. However, his rigid technique and apparent lack of short-area quickness will limit his ability in coverage.
He performed well at the NFL Combine and Reese’s Senior Bowl, improving his draft stock and easing concerns regarding his overall athleticism.
Ultimately, I believe Taylor is worthy of a late third round pick. He will immediately serve as an impact player on special teams. He also has the potential, in the right situation, to develop into a key rotational piece and possibly even start at cornerback down the road.
Alontae Taylor’s profile, as a prospect, is similar to that of current 49ers cornerback Ambry Thomas. The former 2021 third round pick offers a similar athletic build and was a key special teams contributor during his time at Michigan. I expect Taylor to fill a role similar to that of Thomas at the NFL level, who began as a rotational option for San Francisco’s defense before injuries forced him to start.
Final Thoughts on Alontae Taylor Scouting Report
Although he may never emerge as a high-end starter, Alontae Taylor offers one of the higher floors in the 2022 class. He has the football IQ and leadership qualities necessary to carve out a role at the professional level and contribute to a winning team. Although concerns surrounding his flexibility and short-area quickness will prevent him from contributing heavily in a man-oriented scheme; I believe added patience at the point of attack will result in significant improvement to both his tackling and consistency. Therefore, his best fit will be as a depth corner on a zone-heavy defense, allowing him to use his promising length and anticipation to his advantage.
Alontae Taylor Scouting Report Analyst- Ryan Kalukin.