Thursday, April 28, 2011
Phil Taylor had quite a ride to Cleveland
By David Ubben
They call him Big Phil at Baylor.
There aren't many 330-pounders in college football, but Phil Taylor was one of them. Now, Big Phil is headed to Cleveland as the 21st pick in the NFL Draft.
Taylor took the scenic route to the pros, but players like him, ones from unlikely places, are what has helped Baylor climb the Big 12's ladder in recent years under Art Briles.
He began his career at Penn State, but transferred to Baylor and has been a run stuffer for the past two seasons at the front line of the Bears defense.
Briles took a chance on him, and it paid off. Though he was never the most productive tackle in the league, if his career turns out like he hopes, his size will be the biggest reason why.
Baylor hadn't had a first-round pick in Big 12 history before Briles arrived. Taylor makes two, after offensive lineman Jason Smith went No. 2 overall in 2009. His teammate, offensive lineman Danny Watkins could be the third later Thursday night.
Under Briles, the Bears figure to have plenty more.