Darrell Taylor Press Transcript: “No I wasn’t surprised, I was just happy they called my name this early”

Seattle Seahawks / Credit: NFL Communications Site

DE DARRELL TAYLOR – Seattle Seahawks Post-Draft Interview – 2020 NFL Draft Day Two – April 24

(On where he’s watching the draft and what the scene was like when Seattle called him…) “I’m watching the draft in Virginia with my family and I have just some immediate family here. It was everything that I hoped for when they called me. Then I saw it on the TV so it was a very exciting moment that I’ll never forget.”

(On what Pete Carroll and John Schneider said they want him to do…) “They just want me to come in and compete. Obviously, they want me put me down and rush the passer. They want me to go for it. The most important thing is to compete and making sure that I’m coming in and helping my team win.”

(On the advantage he has transitioning to the NFL after playing multiple positions in the SEC and being a team captain with the potentially shortened offseason…) “I feel like it gives me an advantage and it gives me time to get my conditioning right and get my body right and make sure I’m as healthy as I was when I get to my team. And then having all those games played at Tennessee, I think it just gives me an advantage on playing against the best competition and playing against some of the biggest guys in our conference. Most of them got drafted in the first round. I think that gave me a greater advantage going into this NFL draft and getting drafted by Seattle.”

(On how old his son is…) “My son is one and he’ll be two in July.”

(On what it’s been like being a father, playing football and going to school…) “It’s been a great experience. Having my son and when I’m not doing football, I’m trying to spend as much time with him as I possibly can. I think it’s been a great experience being a father and learning how to become a man each and every day and how to be a father to him each and every day. I think it’s been a great experience being able to play college football, work on my academics and be a father to my son Ka’marii.”

(On what he’s learned as a father…) “I think I’ve learned how to understand people and understanding him because he’s a child and he’s young so I’ve learned how to be patient with him teach him things that my dad wasn’t around to teach me when I was younger. Just being able to be there for him through everything, whatever he needs and being able to be his father figure because I am his father. Just being there with him every step of the way, that’s what means the most to me.”

(On the circumstances with his father…) “My father was incarcerated when I was younger so I just want to be better than what my father did when I was younger so that’s what I’m doing.”

(On what he brings to the table as a pass rusher and what he wants to improve upon…) “I think I’m really great in the pass rush. I have a really good long arm stab and I can use speed and power moves so I think I bring a lot to the table. I have power, I have speed. I think I need to get better at using my hands and being more technical with that. Being coached up by the guys in Seattle, I think they’ll help me do that and now help me be the best pass rusher that the NFL will see this rookie season. I think I bring I lot to the table. I can run, I can cover, I can do whatever you ask a linebacker for and a defensive end. I can do it all and I think that’s what I bring to the table for Seattle.”

(On what he enjoys about getting after the quarterback the most…) “I think it’s just getting off the rock and running the edge and dipping and ripping my shoulder, ripping my arm through seeing that the quarterback is still there. I think that’s the best thing that I’ve ever experienced on a football field, seeing that once you get past that tackle, that quarterback is waiting there for you to hit him as hard as you want to.”

(On what his hometown in Virginia is like and what he likes to do there…) “When I come here, I mainly go to Richmond. My hometown is 30 minutes from Richmond and I go to Richmond and I check out the water down there. I go down there and see all the historic things that have happened in Virginia and in Richmond. I come hang with my family, I spend time with my sister and my nephew and I do that a lot. Every time I come home, I spend time with them. I just try to be around my family as much as I can because I stayed in Tennessee a lot trying to get my academics and everything straight. So I sacrificed that time with them during that period of time and every time I come here, I just like spending time with my family and just enjoying the great outdoors that Virginia has to offer.”

(On if he played outside linebacker the whole time at Tennessee or if he was ever a defensive end…) “I played defensive end the first few seasons at Tennessee and my last two years, my redshirt junior year and my redshirt senior year, I played outside linebacker.”

(On how much time he spent hand on the ground versus hand up as a pass rusher and where he feels most comfortable on the field…) “At Tennessee, I played mostly on the right side, especially when I got to outside backer. But I can play on either side. I played right and left. That’s the way they taught us, right and left. But I played mostly on the left side, I had a lot of sacks on the left side, but I can play 3-point, 2-point, four-point, it doesn’t matter what stance I play in, I feel like I can rush out of any stance. I feel like I can play either side of the ball, whether that’s on the right side of the left side.”

(On how much familiarity he has with a four-down front…) “I have a little bit of familiarity with it. I wasn’t as smart of a player as I am now when I was younger, but I played in a 4-3 defense so I’m pretty familiar with it. I did a little bit of it in high school too so it won’t be a shock to me to learn the playbook and everything like that.”

(On if his mother died of breast cancer…) “Yes, my mother died in 2013, May 2nd, from breast cancer.

(On how he got through that…) “That was my sophomore year of high school and I didn’t play football that year because that was a rough year for me.”

(On if he had much contact with the Seahawks and if he was surprised the Seahawks selected him…) “No I wasn’t surprised, I was just happy they called my name this early. I talked with them a lot and I actually took a visit up there before they shut everything down with the coronavirus and all that stuff. I took a visit there and it was a great visit, I had an amazing time there with all the coaches and all the personnel that works there.”

(On if something stood out about Seattle during his visit…) “Yeah I think because I’m an outdoors person so when I got the chance to just drive around the city just a little bit for like five minutes, I got a chance to look up and see all the trees and everything. I got to see how pretty and green it was out there. I think that was the most eye-catching thing to me because I love the outdoors.”

(On how the stress fracture in his leg hindered his play last season…) “I still had an impressive year, but I think it could have been better if it wasn’t there obviously. I played through it and I think I had a pretty good season. I made the decision to play in my bowl game and that was one of the best decisions I made because it was the last game that I got to play with my teammates and it was a really cool to have that moment and win that game and to have that experience. Now I’m just trying to get ready to do what I do when I get to Seattle and I’m excited about it and the journey I’m about to take that’s in front of me.”

(On how he feels after the surgery…) “I think it’s fixing me up a lot. I think the surgery helped me a lot, my body feels so much better and my body is headed in the right direction of healing and everything going through that progression. My rehab is going really great. I’m ready to get back to 100% so I can contribute to my team.”

(On when he had surgery and what workouts has he been able to get in…) “I had surgery on January 30 of this year and it took two months exactly for my scar to heal all the way and close up because they cut into my knee and went down my shin. They put a titanium rod in there and I think it’s been very beneficial for my leg and it’s helped a lot of the pain go away so I don’t feel anything there anymore. My leg feels as healthy as a horse. I’ve been waiting for it to get as strong as possible. I’ve been doing that and I’ve been training and I’ve been doing a little bit outside. Every chance I get, I get outside and run a little bit and move around and do those things. I’m in the training room when I go back to Knoxville, I’ve been in the training room every day, just rehabbing, strengthening and conditioning on my leg and everything. Just trying to get it strong again and once I do that, it won’t stop me from being the best.”

(On if he went to the combine…) “I went to the combine, I just didn’t do anything.”

(On if there was anything after the combine where he could show that he was physically fit…) “I put a video out. I had my agent send it out. I had him send out the medical records and everything to make sure everything was straight. I did a video and showed that I can run and move around and bend and still get off the ball and everything. Back pedal and all that stuff. I think teams can see what I can do since I had my surgery in January.”

(On what he attributes his versatility to…) “I think I can attribute it to playing basketball. I played basketball my whole life and I played football all my life. Just running around when I was younger and when I got on the basketball court, it felt pretty natural. The football field was like my realm, it felt like I was at home. No one could touch me when I was on that field so I would say I could attribute that to being an athletic basketball player. I get it from my mother and my father. My mother was 6’1” so that’s where I get my size and I feel like a lot of my athletic abilities.”

(On if his mother was a basketball player…) “Yes.”

(On what position his mother played in basketball…) “She played a power forward position.”

(On what mentors he had in his life as a teenager after his mother passed away…) “My aunt was there for me a lot. I lived with her for some time of my life too. She was there for me every step of the way. My sister was there, she was the only sibling I had with my mother. So they were there for me each and every step of the way. My coaches at my high school were there behind me when my mom had passed. I feel like my whole city was pretty much there for me every step of the way going through this process and going through that time when my mom had passed. They were all there for me and they were my backbones to make sure that I kept a straight mind and make sure that I had everything that I needed to graduate from high school, make it to college and do what I’m doing now.”

(On what it feels like when a team trades up to draft you…) “It’s exciting because they traded up to get me so that means they must’ve really wanted me and I think I can’t thank them enough for it. I’m just ready to get to work, I’m excited they picked me to be their pass rusher and be a part of their organization. I’m ready to show them what I’ve got.”

-Seattle Seahawks Media Site

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