WASHINGTON — Nose tackle Phil Taylor (6-3, 335 pounds) has traveled a long way from Clinton, Md., to sign with the Washington Redskins, in a deal officially announced on Friday.
The reserve/futures contract comes after Taylor sat out each of the last two seasons. At his best, the former four-star high school prospect and first-round NFL pick is an immovable object on defense.
But knee problems, including two arthroscopic procedures in 2014, have threatened to derail his career.
As a rookie in 2011, Taylor played all 16 games, logging 59 total tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble, all impressive numbers for a 3-4 interior lineman. Since then, however, he has appeared in just 28 games, with 50 tackles, three sacks and one fumble recovery.
Those are not uncommon numbers for a nose tackle, who frequently impacts the game by freeing up linebackers to make plays around him. However, that is not the impact player the Browns expected when drafting him, and Taylor was released by the team on September 1, 2015.
From there, he sat out the 2015 season, signing with the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos on February 22, 2016. He rehabbed with them throughout the offseason, but was lost to injury early in training camp.
He was released from injured reserve in early August and did not sign with a team for the duration of the season.
It is unknown how healthy he is now, but a change of scenery and a return home could be ideal to jump start his career.