6. Darrell Taylor, LB
When Darrell Taylor signed with the Vols as part of their ballyhooed 2015 recruiting class, he looked more like a wide receiver than a defensive end. He was about 6-foot-4, 215 pounds and needed more than just one developmental year. He saw some action in 2016, but it was clear he still needed to add weight to his frame.
Finally, by the start of the 2017 season he looked ready to go. He was up to around 254 pounds and looked like he was ready to fulfill his four-star potential. But much like the rest of Tennessee’s defense, Taylor struggled with consistency all season. He played in 10 games and started seven, making 27 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and two passes defended.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad year for Taylor. But expectations were much higher for him, and he had as many bad moments as he did good. Now he’s moved to outside linebacker in Jeremy Pruitt’s new 3-4 defensive scheme, and it looks like he should be able to flourish in that role. His redshirt junior season will be his biggest yet in terms of expectations.