Earlier today, we talked about Trent Taylor making a good impression in camp thus far, including a couple really nice toe-tapping catches. Well, the good impressions continue. Jeremy Kerley was limited at practice on Friday because of a hip issue, and that resulted in Taylor getting some first team reps as the slot receiver.
Taylor is impressing just about everybody, and has a chance to make an impact this season as both a receiver and a punt returner. One of the big questions about him is his size, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is not concerned about that. Chris Biderman was mentioning that he had a particularly good block, and asked Shanahan about Taylor’s physicality.
“Oh yea, Trent’s not scared of anything. He’s not a huge guy, but he’s not going to turn anything down. He’s going to do his job. He’s going to get in front of a guy, and he’s going to bring it as hard as he can. If you don’t do that in our offense, you can’t play it for us. Whether you like contact or not, you still have to do your job. And if receivers don’t block in the run game, I don’t believe you can ever have a run game. I think it takes all 11 people to run the ball. If not you’re just putting in your back to make great plays. So we hold everybody accountable pretty hard in the run game, and they don’t have much of an option if they want to be here.”
Shanahan thinks it has helped get Taylor more reps, particularly when combined with his fearlessness going inside.
“Yea, Trent’s got a good skillset. He plays well in the inside, he’s good at separating and beating man. But that was one of the things we liked about him watching him in college. The way he ran with the ball in his hands, he ran physically. He’s trying to go through people, he’s not scared of contact. It’s a very violent game, and if you’re playing in the inside all the time, if you’re thinking about that stuff it’s hard to perform well. And you can tell Trent doesn’t worry about that part of the game.”
Taylor is going to make the roster, and now it’s really just a matter of what kind of production he has as a rookie. Every report about him has been positive, and more and more we’re hearing that he seems to be developing an excellent rapport with the quarterbacks. What do you think is a reasonable expectation for him as a rookie, particularly as it comes to receptions and receiving yards? 30 receptions for 300+ yards? More? Less?
On a side note, another ridiculous Taylor catch, this time one-handed.