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Third-Round Pick Brandon Taylor to See Extensive Time on Sunday
It isn’t official that Brandon Taylor will start at strong safety this Sunday, but all signs are pointing in that direction.
A heralded third-round pick back in April, Taylor’s been told to expect extensive playing time when the team travels to New York to take on the Jets.
“I have not been told I’ll be starting, but I’ve been told I’ll get a lot of playing time,” he said. “I’m excited about that. I’ve been practicing hard and I’m looking forward to playing in the game.”
Taylor got the first extensive run of his career late in Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. It left head coach Norv Turner wanting to see more as it is hard to evaluate a player in the conditions he was playing in.
“It wasn’t a true test as (Carolina) was running the football and trying to get the game over as quickly as they could,” Turner said. “(Taylor’s) going to get a chance to play a lot these next two weeks. He’s what we’re talking about. He’s a guy that’s going to get on tape and show people what he’s capable of doing.”
The Chargers traded up in the third round of April’s NFL draft to select Taylor out of LSU. A captain his senior year, he anchored the nation’s second leading defense in total yards and points allowed. The 5-foot-11, 210-pounder finished his career with 160 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and four interceptions.
Taylor said he had high hopes to perform immediately at a high level in the NFL, and that his rookie season has not gone as anticipated. He was inactive for the squad’s first 11 games of the year before being active the last three games following Atari Bigby’s season-ending injury.
“This season hasn’t gone at all how I expected,” he said. “I thought things would go way better than they have. But I have to learn from my mistakes and show everyone how much I’ve grown now that I’m getting a chance. These last two games are very important. I’m going to be evaluated based on how I perform, so I am taking them very seriously. I want people to take notice.”
A major reason behind that is that Taylor’s determination to prove he has what it takes to be a starter for the Chargers in 2013.
“I know the stakes,” he said. “I want to come back next season in training camp and offseason workouts and grind and grind and be in a better situation next season. I want to prove I can play assignment football which I think I struggled with earlier. I’ve gotten a lot better since training camp ended. Everything about me has improved. Going up against Antonio Gates and all those skill players we have on offense, it raised my game to another level. I’m a very humble person and I think things happen for a reason. That’s why I wasn’t active for most of the season. There are reasons why I didn’t play. I know why I didn’t play. I wasn’t ready. But everything happens for a reason and I think it will help me for my future. I took it as a positive and I’ve been working hard in practice, and now I look forward to showing it this week.”