The Seahawks biggest pass rush investment this offseason was Darrell Taylor. Seattle fell in love with the Tennessee product and traded up in the second round in order to select him.
Taylor remains on the non-football injury list as he continues to recover from offseason surgery to repair a stress fracture in his shin suffered at Tennessee. He’s eligible to return now that the NFL calendar has turned to Week 7, but he’s not ready to rejoin the team just yet.
Pete Carroll said there’s no clear timetable for when Taylor might be ready to practice.
“We’re going to make sure we get these guys back when there’s no question about his return,” Carroll said on Monday in regard to Taylor as well as Rashaad Penny.
The logical follow-up is whether or not Seattle is concerned Taylor might have to sit out his entire rookie season. Carroll had a semi-positive but still ambiguous update on the status of Taylor’s rehab.
“I’ve watched him run,” Carroll said. “I was out there a couple times this week, and he looks like he’s running hard and fast and pushing it. He’s really strong right now. Anything can happen from this point forward, but he’s working really hard. The doctors are taking good care of him and making sure we don’t force the issue too soon. Just judging from what I’m seeing, it looks like he’s made great progress. It’s not like he’s waiting to start getting in shape. He’s fit and he’s strong.”
But here’s the issue: Taylor still isn’t doing any change of direction work. Carroll said such movements are “really hard on him at this point.”
That makes it hard to expect anything out of Taylor this season, even with 11 games left. Fans should anticipate for this to be a pseudo redshirt year for Taylor, just as last season was for L.J. Collier. That’s certainly disappointing given the investment in Taylor and the team’s need for added edge rushing help.
What’s even more discouraging is that Taylor was a player the Seahawks got to inspect in person before COVID-19 shut down in-person pre-draft visits. That means Seattle’s medical staff cleared Taylor and gave the Seahawks the green light to draft the injured pass rusher.
Hopefully Taylor is able to return and enjoy a long, productive career with the Seahawks, but the early returns are undoubtedly ominous.