Coverage Spacing - He's a bit too overreactive in both zone and man coverage scenarios, he'll overrun his initial landmark and then be put into recovery mode in coverage — getting him out of position too often in the middle of the field. More effective in zone than he is in man at this point, so safety conversion is helpful there.
Acceleration - He's pretty quick footed and has some dynamic acceleration skills at his disposal because of short strides and foot speed. Like his long speed and effort in pursuit and chase down scenarios as a would be tackler as well, showing desirable long speed and range.
Tackling - Wish he was a little bit bigger because he's got a great attitude for tackling. That said, his frame and limitations do pop up as he's looking to step into tackle challenges or wrap and roll — his wingspan will come back to bite him and he'll let some challenges slip through the cracks as a result.
Zone Coverage Skills - He's got the foot speed and mobility to be effective, not necessarily in deep single high role but as a robber and in shallow zones in hook/ curl and over the MOF. He's not the most high ball production player but he's also still new to the position so he deserves some benefit of the doubt for room to grow at SAF.
Ball Skills - Lack of ball production is disappointing, but not overly surprising. He'll struggle when on the body of receivers to extend and greet the ball and he doesn't have the functional strength to dislodge receivers from the ball. He's going to have to win as a slash defender to cut in front of the face of receivers.
Competitive Toughness - Mental toughness should never be questioned after he played majority of 2018 season with a significant back injury. His effort and hustle are excellent and he's made second and third effort plays down the field. Functional strength is handcuffed by his stature and has limited upside for improvement.
Flexibility - He definitely looked hindered by his back issues in 2018 and for someone built so low to the ground, you'd like to see some better fluidity to mirror and match routes — not sure it's a physical handcuff, though. He's a pretty fluid mover with strong mobility through his frame when healthy.
Feet/COD - His feet are one of his better qualities, he's got light feet and quick step frequency to pivot, drive or flash as needed in short spaces. His footwork when carrying receivers is less appealing as he can be late to gear down and mirror at the top of route breaks.
Man Coverage Skills - He's probably only going to be effective against smaller slot receivers in match-up specific roles at the next level — he doesn't have the reach, power or consistency to match and stay stuck on receivers without getting uprooted or dislodged from the body. Experience as a corner hasn't translated to consistency here.
Versatility - His exposure to cornerback should aid him more than it does but he's not a friendly projection to playing a lot of man coverage. Like him a lot more as a spaced out safety in sub-packages who is able to buzz the D-gap or flash in short zones to attack the quick game.
Best Trait - Competitive Toughness
Worst Trait - Coverage Skills
Best Film - Miami (2019)
Worst Film - Florida (2019)
Red Flags - 2018 back INJ
Player Summary - Levonta Taylor is a former cornerback standout and prized recruit whose production and physical tools have been mired in a battle to return to form after a significant back injury suffered in 2018. Taylor converted to safety to play in 2019 and while his impact wasn't overly big, it did open an alternate path for him to find sustained reps. Taylor would be best off as a sub-package safety prospect at the NFL — reps in the nickel against slot receivers should also warrant consideration.