Nobody is in more prime position to be a stat machine for Tennessee football this year than Darrell Taylor. He led all SEC players who are back this year in sacks with eight in 2018, and he was tied for third in tackles for a loss in 11.
Jeremy Pruitt’s system is designed for weakside defensive ends who then line up at outside linebacker in the 3-4 to explode. And Taylor did all of that in just three games as he learned the system. This year, the coaches are undoubtedly expecting him to take another major leap.
However, behind Taylor, the Vols are limited with proven edge rushers. Kivon Bennett has made noise this offseason. Deandre Johnson has experience. Jordan Allen has hype, but he’s coming off an injury. Simply put, all of them have a few drawbacks, and that could end up being disastrous, unless new recruit Roman Harrison emerges.
What’s clear is that Pruitt needs somebody in this scheme to be able to explode, and Taylor is the only guy who has shown an ability to do that so far. That’s what puts him on the list. His potential impact is so much greater than so many other players who are on this list, and while the system gives other players that potential, only Taylor has proof he can do it.