For second time in two hours, Eagles unload a high pick from 2020 draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Taylor, who played very well last year in six starts, struggled throughout this preseason and especially in the preseason finale against the Dolphins, when he played 40 snaps but had a rough time both tackling and in coverage.
It’s been a shocking decline for Taylor, who came into training camp in a battle for playing time with newcomer Kyzir White at weak-side linebacker. But he just never was able to recapture the playmaking he showed last year and winds up as one of the more surprising cuts of the preseason.
Taylor, 24, becomes the first Eagles 3rd-round pick who didn’t make it to his third season since 2010 pick Daniel Te’o Nesheim, a defensive end from Washington. Te’o-Nesheim lasted only one year here.
The Eagles drafted Taylor out of Colorado in the third round even though he had very limited football experience. He wasn’t allowed to play high school football because of his family’s religious beliefs and after a year of junior college football he only played two seasons at Colorado.
Taylor played in 12 games as a rookie, almost exclusively on special teams, but he showed a lot of promise last year in a six-game run after replacing Alex Singleton in the starting lineup.
He had 26 tackles, two forced fumbles and a tackle for loss in that stretch that ran from the Bucs game to the Saints game before his season ended with a knee injury.
With Taylor gone, the Eagles have four remaining off-ball linebackers — White, Nakobe Dean and Shaun Bradley can play weak-side linebacker, and T.J. Edwards and Dean play in the middle.
Taylor is the second member of the 2020 draft class the Eagles unloaded on Wednesday. Earlier in the day they traded 1st-round pick Jalen Reagor to the Vikings. On Tuesday, they released 5th-round pick John Hightower.
So the Eagles have more remaining players from the last two rounds of the 2020 draft (two) than the first three rounds (one).
The 2020 draft becomes the Eagles’ first since 1954 in which their 1st- and 3rd-round picks were both gone before their third season with the team. In 1954, the Eagles drafted Notre Dame fullback Neil Worden in the first round and Nebraska offensive tackle Ted Connor in the third. Worden played two years with the Eagles and Connor never played in the NFL.
As a third-year player, Taylor is subject to the NFL’s waiver claim process. If no team claims him by noon Thursday, he becomes an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with any other team.