Monday, September 23, 2013
Lions look to Devin Taylor to replace Jones
By Michael Rothstein
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Devin Taylor has been active for one game and been in on three plays in his NFL career.
Now, he’s going to potentially play a lot more.
Twice in the past 24 hours, Detroit coach Jim Schwartz has mentioned the rookie as the main possibility to replace Jason Jones, who is out for the season after tearing the patellar tendon in his left knee against Washington on Sunday.
Jones was officially placed on injured reserve Monday, according to the Lions.
Looking to Taylor, though, will come after Detroit figures out how it wants to use fellow rookie Ziggy Ansah and veteran Willie Young. That duo has been among Detroit’s top defensive linemen.
“We’ve got a lot of different ways,” Schwartz said. “I think I even said [Sunday] that we’re going to lean on Devin Taylor also there. Devin has a lot of the same things that we liked about Jason. We like in Devin.
“He played well at times in the preseason but he needs to grow up quickly. It’s no different than anybody else being a young player in the league. You’ve got to perform.”
It’s an interesting spot for Taylor, who might be best known for playing on the opposite side of All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney last season at South Carolina. Much like his still-in-college counterpart, Taylor possesses freak athleticism.
The 6-foot-7 Taylor won the South Carolina state triple jump title by leaping 48 feet, 3 inches. Not surprisingly, he also played high school basketball.
With the Gamecocks, he had 18.5 career sacks, 161 tackles and intercepted two passes. He returned both interceptions for touchdowns.
The Lions drafted him in the fourth round in April, in part to develop as a replacement for the three defensive ends that left following last season. Now, he’ll be in a position to play a lot early in his career.
Detroit also has brought defensive tackle Andre Fluellen in for the fourth time. The Lions initially drafted Fluellen in the third round of the 2008 draft and then released him on Aug. 31, 2012. They re-signed him on Dec. 12, 2012, and then brought him back again on July 26. He was cut again last month before the Lions chose to bring him back Monday.