Darrell Taylor practicing with Seahawks during rookie mini-camp


Darrell Taylor 5-14

After missing all of his rookie season due to an elongated recovery from leg surgery, defensive end Darrell Taylor was able to practice with the Seahawks' newest crop of rookies during the team's mini-camp on Friday.

Taylor, a second-round pick by the team last year, was unable to practice until the final weeks of the season due to ongoing complications from a surgery that put a steel rod into his leg to address stress fractures. However, Taylor was unable to recover from the procedure and heal sufficiently to return to the field.

"It was pretty hard last year not being on the field," Taylor said.

A stem cell injection in November finally gave him the relief he needed to get back to football.

"I didn't need another surgery. Just wasn't working. Tried a bunch of different things and came out with something positive that helped me and it helped me get on the field, as you can see, and it's going well," Taylor said.

Taylor's return to the field comes with a new role on his plate as well. The Seahawks are going to try using Taylor at their strong-side linebacker position in addition to his background as a edge rusher.

"He felt comfortable, did everything, so that's a really good sign," head coach Pete Carroll said. "He's an outside player for us. Rush outside, outside linebacker, both jobs he's taking a look at."

The strong-side linebacker, or SAM, spot was filled primarily by K.J. Wright last season after sliding over from his traditional weak-side linebacker spot. With the Seahawks seemingly ready ton transition from Wright to last year's first-round pick Jordyn Brooks at the weak-side spot, and Wright still a free agent, Taylor could be a big part of their plans to fill that spot this season.

Taylor said he played the SAM spot during his time at the University of Tennessee. It isn't a role that he's unfamiliar with.

"I played a lot of SAM linebacker at Tennessee in our 3-4 front," Taylor said. "It's not really new to me. Tennessee asked me to do a lot so the Seahawks asked me to do the same thing and I'm going to take the challenge. I'm ready."

Taylor said that the injury and that recovery will always be a part of him going forward, but he said it's not something he actively thinks about anymore when he is out on the field.

"Not at all. I don't think about my injury at all. Especially when I hit the field for the first time like, football, OK, here we go. Just time to lock in and time to get ready for the season," Taylor said.

Taylor also changed numbers this year from the No. 58 he had last season to the No. 52 he was wearing for practice on Friday. Taylor said there were a couple reasons for that. One, the No. 58 was a reminder of his lost season last year and the never-ending rehab that kept him out all year. The change to No. 52 was a nod to his mother, Peggy Tyler, who wore the No. 25 when she played basketball. His mother died of breast cancer when he was in high school at age 16.

"She was really good at basketball, supposed to be like All-American and all that stuff. I wear 52 to represent her," Taylor said. "I just kind of felt like last year, it was just like a lot. It was hard last year so I changed my number because I didn't want to wear 58 anymore because I didn't want it to be a representation of last year. I thought 52 would be the perfect number to go with to represent my mother."

While this is a "rookie" mini-camp, players that haven't accrued a season of service time can also take part despite some level of NFL experience. Taylor falls under that category for Seattle.

Notes:

-- The mini-camp roster is significantly reduced in numbers from most prior seasons. Seattle only has 31 players taking part in the mini-camp and all of them are signed and on the team's 90-man roster. Typically this mini-camp includes a number of undrafted free agents and veteran players on tryouts. However, the ongoing pandemic circumstances has made such tryouts more challenging under league rules.

-- The Seahawks signed second-round wide receiver D'Wayne Eskridge and sixth-round tackle Stone Forsythe to their rookie contracts on Friday ahead of their first practice. Both contracts will be four-year deals, per league rules. Fourth-round cornerback Tre Brown remains as the only unsigned draft choice.

-- "Veterans" able to take part in the rookie mini-camp at quarterback Danny Etling, tackle Tommy Champion, linebacker Nate Evans. wide receiver Aaron Fuller, defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore, center Brad Lundblade, tight end Tyler Mabry, safety Josh Moon, defensive tackle Walter Palmore, wide receiver Cody Thompson, defensive end Marcus Webb, and safety LaDarius Wiley.

-- The undrafted free agent class announced by the team on Friday includes: S Aashari Crosswell (Arizona State), OT Jake Curhan (California), OT Greg Eiland (Mississippi State), RB B.J. Emmons (Florida Atlantic), DT Jarrod Hewitt (Virginia Tech), G Jared Hocker (Texas A&M), WR Cade Johnson (South Dakota State), RB Josh Johnson (Louisiana-Monroe), G Pier-Olivier Lestage (Montreal), CB Bryan Mills (North Carolina Central), LB Jon Rhattigan (Army), WR Tamorrion Terry (Florida State), WR Connor Weddington (Stanford).

Roster:

22

Brown, Tre

CB

5-10

185

9/24/1997

23

R

Oklahoma

Tulsa, Okla.

D4-'21

79

Champion, Tommy

T

6-5

320

3/4/1997

24

2

Mississippi State

Jackson, Miss.

FA-'20

39

Crosswell, Aashari

FS

6-0

208

8/8/2000

20

R

Arizona State

Watts, Calif.

FA-'21

74

Curhan, Jake

T

6-6

316

2/9/1998

23

R

California

Larkspur, Calif.

FA-'21

43

Donkor, Aaron

LB

6-1

240

3/21/1995

26

R

Arkansas State

Goettingen, Germany

FA-'21

75

Eiland, Greg

T

6-8

321

2/1/1998

23

R

Mississippi State

Philadelphia, Miss.

FA-'21

40

Emmons, B.J.

RB

5-11

215

7/3/1997

23

R

Florida Atlantic

Morganton, N.C.

FA-'21

1

Eskridge, D'Wayne

WR

5-9

190

3/23/1997

24

R

Western Michigan

Bluffton, Ind.

D2-'21

9

Etling, Danny

QB

6-3

220

7/22/1994

26

4

Louisiana State

Terre Haute, Ind.

W(Atl)-'20

58

Evans, Nate

LB

6-1

241

2/27/1998

23

2

Central Florida

Waggaman, La.

W(Jac)-'21

78

Forsythe, Stone

T

6-8

307

12/29/1997

23

R

Florida

Winter Garden, Fla.

D6-'21

17

Fuller, Aaron

WR

5-11

188

9/30/1997

23

2

Washington

McKinney, Texas

FA-'20

86

Guggemos, Nick

TE

6-5

253

12/17/1995

25

R

St. Thomas

Eden Prairie, Minn.

FA-'21

62

Hewitt, Jarrod

DT

6-1

290

11/3/1997

23

R

Virginia Tech

Venice, Fla.

FA-'21

63

Hocker, Jared

G

6-6

327

7/11/1998

22

R

Texas A&M

N. Richland Hills, Texas

FA-'21

88

Johnson, Cade

WR

5-10

184

4/10/1998

23

R

South Dakota State

Papillion, Neb.

FA-'21

34

Johnson, Josh

RB

5-9

209

12/26/1997

23

R

Louisiana-Monroe

Hurtsboro, Ala.

FA-'21

75

Lattimore, Cedrick

DT

6-3

300

2/6/1998

23

2

Iowa

Redford, Mich.

FA-'20

62

Lestage, Pier-Olivier

G

6-3

312

8/4/1997

23

R

Montreal

Saint Eustache, Quebec

FA-'21

64

Lundblade, Brad

C

6-3

295

9/21/1995

25

4

Oklahoma State

Argyle, Texas

FA-'20

85

Mabry, Tyler

TE

6-3

247

11/21/1996

24

2

Maryland

Ypsilanti, Mich.

FA-'20

30

Mills, Bryan

CB

6-1

174

4/3/1999

22

R

North Carolina Central

Palmdale, Calif.

FA-'21

37

Moon, Josh

SS

5-10

205

5/18/1997

23

1

Georgia Southern

Fairburn, Ga.

FA-'21

64

Palmore, Walter

DT

6-3

317

8/9/1996

24

2

Missouri

Columbus, Ga.

FA-'21

59

Rhattigan, Jon

LB

6-0

236

2/2/1999

22

R

Army

Naperville, Ill.

FA-'21

52

Taylor, Darrell

DE

6-4

267

3/24/1997

24

2

Tennessee

Hopewell, Va.

D2-'20

83

Terry, Tamorrion

WR

6-3

207

3/21/1998

23

R

Florida State

Ashburn, Ga.

FA-'21

11

Thompson, Cody

WR

6-2

205

1/11/1996

25

3

Toledo

Huron, Ohio

FA-'19

48

Webb, Marcus

DE

6-2

247

9/4/1997

23

1

Troy

Decatur, Ala.

FA-'21

87

Wedington, Connor

WR

6-0

189

5/28/1999

21

R

Stanford

Lake Tapps, Wash.

FA-'21

42

Wiley, LaDarius

SS

6-1

209

6/3/1996

24

1

Vanderbilt

Los Angeles, Calif.

FA-'21

Photo Credit: Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor (No. 52) takes part in practice drills during the team's rookie mini-camp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center on May 14, 2021. (photo by Curtis Crabtree / Sports Radio 950 KJR)