PLAYER: Cooper Taylor
After stunning everybody and trading up for quarterback Ryan Nassib in the fourth round, the Giants went back to focusing on defense. They took a super-sized safety in the fifth round in Taylor.
The Giants like versatile safeties, and it appears Taylor may be able to play linebacker as well. He is big and quick, and could be another piece defensive coordinator Perry Fewell uses in his three-safety look.
THE 411: Like Houston cornerback D.J. Hayden, Taylor has had a heart issue. While at Georgia Tech in 2009, Taylor was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (abnormal electrical pathways in the heart). He underwent a corrective procedure in Nov. 2009. Taylor eventually transferred to Richmond and played his final two years for the Spiders.
Taylor started 18 games at Richmond and had 141 tackles, 1.5 sacks and five interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He had 90 tackles and two interceptions in 20 games at Georgia Tech.
Taylor was clocked at 4.49 in the 40 at Richmond’s pro day. He does have a history of injuries, ranging from his heart condition, to a knee issue in 2011, to a torn pectoral and broken hands suffered in 2012. He still played in 10 games in 2012.
His father, Jim Bob Taylor, was a quarterback for Georgia Tech and the Baltimore Colts.
HOW HE FITS IN: The Giants have a lot of safeties on the roster with Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Will Hill, Ryan Mundy and Tyler Sash. But Taylor also might be able to help at outside linebacker, where the Giants have Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers and Spencer Paysinger. Perhaps he can be a Deon Grant-type for the defense. With Kenny Phillips gone, the Giants are looking for a versatile safety for the future.
PROJECTED IMPACT: Taylor sounds like the type of guy who projects as the third safety the Giants like to use. A big, quick body who can play hybrid safety/linebacker, cover and tackle. His impact this coming season would likely come on special teams, but he could push Hill, Mundy and Sash as the third safety with an impressive camp. His biggest impact may come in 2014, since Brown is on a one-year tender and Rolle will be entering the final year of his contract.