PFF names Leonard Taylor Top 10 returning interior defensive linemen

Oct 15, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 15, 2022; Blacksburg, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami defensive tackle Leonard Taylor was named by Max Chadwick of Pro Football Focus as one of the “Top 10 returning interior defensive linemen in college football for the 2023 season.” Taylor had 24 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception playing on a Miami defensive line that frequently rotated.

With former Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Steele constantly rotating his DL Leonard Taylor did not have enough snaps to post elite numbers. Under Steele’s replacement Lance Guidry who was hired on Tuesday, Taylor has the potential to have a breakout 2023 season. Taylor should challenge to be a 2023 All-American.

Taylor improved upon his numbers as a true freshman in 2021 when he had 21 tackles, 8.5 TFLs and two sacks. Under his third defensive coordinator in as many years in college, Taylor could have a chance to double the numbers he has posted in either of the last two seasons. Taylor was 18th in the ACC in TFLs in 2022.

Taylor is projected to start with returning DT Jared Harrison-Hunte. Miami added transfer DTs Branson Deen from Purdue and Thomas Gore from Georgia State to add depth in 2023. The Hurricanes also signed four-star productive DT Joshua Horton in the 2023 class. Taylor is likely entering his last season with Miami.

"5. LEONARD TAYLOR, MIAMI (FL) HURRICANES“Coming out of high school in 2021, Taylor was a top-10 recruit according to On3’s consensus ratings. He lived up to the hype this season, especially as a pass-rusher. The sophomore’s 19.5% pressure rate and 16.2% pressure rate trailed only Pittsburgh’s Calijah Kancey among Power Five interior defensive linemen.Taylor has the potential to be the top defensive tackle in the 2024 draft.”"

Per David Lake of Inside the U, Taylor played 200 snaps generating seven pressures as a true freshman in 2021. Taylor played 329 snaps in 2022 while significantly improving to 25 pressures. Taylor should receive more snaps in 2023. Guidry reportedly likes to play an aggressive defense.\

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Generating an inside pass rush led by Taylor should help the Miami defense improve in 2023. ESPN agrees with the projection by Chadwick of Taylor as the potential top DT in the 2024 NFL Draft. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Matt Miller projects Miller as one of the top three DTs in the 2024 NFL Draft.