Consider rookie wide receiver
Taylor has always been a stud athlete.
He compiled 2,700 receiving yards and 38 touchdowns over his final two years in high school. The wide receiver also starred in basketball, track and in an effort to build chemistry with his quarterback, picked up tennis as a senior. The doubles tandem made it all the way to the state finals.
The Shreveport, La., native made the most of what he was given - elite athletic ability without the size to turn heads. Being 5-foot-8 has its limits. Louisiana Tech was the only college program who decided that the 160-pound pass-catcher was worthy of a Division I scholarship.
“I understood why I wasn’t getting offered,” Taylor said. “I just knew that I needed an opportunity to go prove myself and Louisiana Tech gave me that opportunity and that’s all I could ask for.”
Taylor continued to put up gaudy numbers. As a senior in 2016, he led the nation with 1,803 receiving yards and added 12 touchdowns. Taylor finished his Bulldogs career with 4,179 yards and 32 touchdowns to go with his program record of 327 career receptions.
Despite the impressive production, Taylor still went unheralded throughout the pre-draft process. The San Francisco 49ers were pleased to land the diminutive wideout in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
“I thought he was as good at the slot role as anyone that we were looking at in the draft,” Kyle Shanahan said of his ‘draft crush.’ “What impressed me the most about him besides the separation ability is that when he did get the ball in his hands, he ran angry and pissed off. He got up the field. He’s not scared to get hit. He’s a very competitive, violent runner and those are the guys who keep you on the field and move the chains.”
The physical disposition that caught coach Shanahan’s eye emanates from Taylor's experience at cornerback and safety as a two-way player in high school.
Taylor's hard-hitting nature once broke an unlucky opponent's jaw.
“I love to hit. Playing defense, that’s something I loved to do,” Taylor said. “So anytime I got the ball on offense, I’m not scared to lay my head in there and get a hit. It’s a part of the game and I love it.”
Just as he’s done his entire football career, Taylor will have to prove that his size is an asset rather than a limitation. He's one of 13 receivers currently on the 49ers 90-man roster in what is expected to be one of the most competitive position groups come training camp.
That uphill climb is something that Taylor will continue to embrace.
"People (have been) telling me my whole life that I’m not supposed to be here. So, anytime I get the ball, I want to prove them wrong,” Taylor added. “Prove that I can compete with the best of them.”