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Purple & Gold Prospects: Leonard Taylor III Final Scouting Report

Welcome to Purple & Gold Prospects!

This will be an ongoing series to get Vikings fans familiar with upcoming draft prospects. The focus of this series will be to cover prominent prospects entering the upcoming NFL Draft. The series will center on the position groups of highest need on the current Vikings roster, but will also cover stand out players across the spectrum. I hope you will join me on this continuing journey to learn more about upcoming draft classes.

With that let’s discover the possible future of your Minnesota Vikings!


Height: 6030

Weight: 305 lbs.

Leonard Taylor III was a 5-star recruit out of Miami Palmetto High School in Miami, Florida. He received a bevy of offers in high school but eventually stayed local and committed to the University of Miami for the 2021 season. He exploded onto the scene as a true freshman and over his three years at Miami he amassed 64 tackles (including 22.5 for loss), 6 sacks, and 1 INT. His 2022 season was his best but he was still disruptive in 2023. Taylor had first round hype entering the 2023 season but that has cooled off with slight down performance in 2023. He has areas to work on with his game but is still positioned well to have his name called sometime on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft.

Games watched: Clemson 2023, Florida State 2023, Texas A&M 2023


Taylor anchors very well in the run game when singled up on opponents. He gets leverage and has plenty of power, rarely being moved off his spot. He shows good timing at times to shed blocks and make tackles in his assigned lanes. But where most of his production came was in pass rush situations. Taylor has very good get-off and is usually the first linemen to react once the ball is snapped. His burst and straight-line speed can immediately stress blockers and allow him to shoot gaps often. He displays a great arsenal of pass rush moves and counters. Rarely does he lose the initial hand-fighting and he keeps defenders from engaging. Taylor will scream through the line of scrimmage at the snap and often disrupt the QB and move them off of their spot. He also displays the awareness to shed blockers and stonewall runners at or behind the LOS. Taylor also flashes some very nice reps of converting that burst and speed to power, allowing him to immediately collapse the interior of the pocket. He goes for the home-run play almost every snap which has led to many “wow” plays throughout his career at Miami.


While Taylor shows some very impressive skills there’s still a lot to work on. He has very little feel for double teams currently. He will get pushed back or washed out of run plays and completely destroyed in pass rush situations. While his one on one skills are impressive he doesn’t set his base wide enough and loses leverage quickly to double teams with inconsistent pad level. Often the second linemen will completely throw him away from the play. These balance and leverage issues also arise quite often when bursting through the line. He can disengage too early from blockers not winning the rep clean enough and allowing opponents to push him off of his line. Taylor will also get a little too far out in front of his base while squeezing through. All of these balance and engagement issues have him getting completely thrown off and often falling to the turf consistently throughout his tape. He also struggles with pad level and leverage while engaged and often does not shed blocks in time to make tackles. I would like to see him use his length better to keep opponents out of his chest allowing him to cleanly shed blockers. He also goes for the home run play too often. Because of this he often doesn’t wait for the RB to commit to a lane and will try and burst through one allowing the RB cut to the other assignment allowing large chunk plays up the middle of the field. Lastly, his lateral agility and quickness leave some to be desired and isn’t the greatest in pursuit currently.


Taylor is a high variance mixed bag of tools. He has plenty of reps where he absolutely destroys his opponent and makes impressive plays at our behind the line of scrimmage and others where he far too often ends up on the ground. Taylor will need a good DL coach to drill proper base and footwork technique, pad level, and patience into his game. If he can bring those together the upside is quite high for him. For the Vikings he would be a very good developmental DT to bring in and fully unlock in year 2. But he still should be able to contribute as a rotational pass rusher in his rookie season. Due to his upside and performance from prior years he has a lot of tools that NFL teams will highly covet and should see his name called anywhere on Day 2 in the NFL Draft.


Anchor/Run Defense: 8.5 / 10

Awareness: 7.8 / 10

Burst/Quickness: 8.4 / 10

Counters: 8 / 10

Pad Level/Leverage: 6.8 / 10

Pass Rush/Penetration: 8.5 / 10

Play Speed/Agility: 7.5 / 10

Power: 8.2 / 10

Size/Length: 8 / 10

Tackling: 7.5 / 10

OVERALL: 79.2 – Early Third Round


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