Lions eye Miami safety with sixth overall pick

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swine
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Lions eye Miami safety with sixth overall pick

Postby PigSkin » Mon Feb 23, 2004 8:24 am

A lot of folks here have said they'd like to see the Skins take Taylor with their No. 5. I haven't lost confidence in Bowen.

BY CURT SYLVESTER, FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Lions have at least one good reason to keep the No. 6 pick in the NFL draft -- Miami (Fla.) safety Sean Taylor.

There are other players they will consider -- a wide receiver, a running back or even a tight end -- assuming they don't trade their first-round pick for Redskins cornerback Champ Bailey.

But, in terms of athletic ability and filling a need, Taylor might be the most appealing draft candidate president Matt Millen and coach Steve Mariucci will consider.

"He's everything they say about him," Millen said Sunday. "He's a big, fast and strong kid. What I love about him is he's got a mean streak. He plays with a really good, nasty, rat-like attitude."

Millen's pet project since being hired three years ago has been to acquire players he refers to in admiring terms as "rats" -- players who are rough, tough and nasty.

Most NFL observers don't put Taylor in the same class as Roy Williams of Dallas or Ed Reed of Baltimore as a pure hitter, but he has other qualities that some think make him the best all-around athlete in the draft.

Taylor runs extremely well and has coverage ability, which means he can play either strong or free safety. He also does well in the mental side of the game. He started studying film when he was in high school and his preparation paid off with 10 interceptions during the past season.

"Just studying film, reading the quarterback and reading the receivers' routes helps you get that extra edge to the ball," Taylor said. "You kind of beat the receiver to his route."

The mental preparation is only one factor in Taylor's success. And he does not underestimate the importance of his physical play in becoming a top defensive back.

"If you catch it or come across the middle -- or if I get a chance to get a hit on you -- I'm going to hit you," he said.

"If you hit a guy in the first quarter and there's another pass coming in the third quarter, and he sees you in the middle, he's going to think about it a lot differently. He might shorten his arms a little bit and there's your pick. It's like a chess match."

Taylor was measured at a fraction taller than 6-2 and weighed 230 pounds at the NFL scouting combine. He was scheduled for interviews with a number of teams, including the Lions, Sunday night.

Like most top draft prospects, he feels he's good enough to be the No. 1 pick overall, but he understands that team needs frequently dictate how players are drafted. And he says he will be happy regardless of which team drafts him and when.

"I have no choice in the picking," he said. "I can do my best to make an impression on teams. I'm going to try my best; like I said, I'd like to be No. 1. I don't settle for second, but that's not settling for second. That's the hand your dealt, that's fine."

It's doubtful Taylor would have to worry about falling very far in the draft. If he's there when the Lions make their first pick, there's a good chance he would be drafted.

"He can change a lot of things," Millen said. "He gives you a lot of flexibility in your schemes."

NOTEBOOK: The Lions' talks with the Redskins and Bailey's agent, Jack Reale,are ongoing, but it appears less likely they will give up their first-round pick for the four-time Pro Bowl cornerback. The Redskins are weighing offers from as many as six teams and will see which makes the best offer. If they trade Bailey, it is expected to happen before the start of free agency March 3, so they can save the franchise tag. . . . The Lions don't want to lose backup quarterback Mike McMahon,who will become a restricted free agent March 3. They would like to sign him to a two-year contract, but McMahon would like a shot at a starting job. If he thinks he is stuck permanently behind Joey Harrington,he might opt for a one-year deal that will enable him to be an unrestricted free agent in a year.

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Postby BringThePain! » Mon Feb 23, 2004 11:45 am

Oh Yeah!.... Well I hope we don't trade Bailey to them and we take Taylor with our number 5 pick, that way they get nothing. They want Bailey, but want Taylor too so they want give the SKINS what Bailey worth and give up there Number 6 pick. You would think one egg in the basket is better than none?!?!? Silly Lions!
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