Now that he’s got a shot at the NFL, Bengals rookie Rod Taylor is working hard to make the 53-man roster.
The Jackson, Mississippi, native spoke with local WMC Action News and gave some insight into how he’s preparing.
“I’m working on my hands right now,” Taylor said in a video with Rachel Richlinski. ”Staying low, keeping my demeanor and getting stronger.”
Taylor also said his preparation has changed from his days at Ole Miss to now, but in the end it isn’t different.
“The difference is that you’re getting ready for a 40 and a shuttle time,” Taylor said. “But you’re just training for football. There really isn’t a difference because at the end of the day you’re still getting your body prepared for the game.”
Taylor was drafted by the Bengals with the 252nd overall pick in the seventh round out of Ole Miss. He’s bounced around a lot on the offensive line in college, but started every game at right tackle last year for the Rebels. He’s likely to play right guard in the NFL, and if that ends up the case, he’s got Trey Hopkins and Alex Redmond to battle with on the depth chart.
The 23-year-old lineman was one of the better pass blockers in all of college football last year. Pro Football Focus gave him a pass blocking efficiency rating of 96.4 in their 2018 draft guide. Taylor allowed three sacks, three hits and 15 quarterback hurries.
Depending on how versatile he can be at this level, Taylor can greatly increase his chances of making the roster. The Bengals’ offensive line struggled mightily last year, and with Andre Smith gone, Taylor could become a must-have if he can play multiple spots.
Taylor was a longshot to get drafted beforehand, but if he can prove his versatility at a weak position for the Bengals he’ll be a lock to make the roster. The Bengals don’t have the freedom on the offensive line to be selective here, and if nothing else he could be an extra body to bring in if Cincinnati is struck with injuries like they were last year.
Taylor will report to training camp looking to make his roster spot with the rest of the rookies on July 23.