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NFL Draft 2011: Browns trade down, then back up to select Baylor DT Phil Taylor at No. 21

By Nate Ulrich Published: April 28, 2011

After maneuvering twice Thursday night in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Browns selected Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor 21st overall.

The Browns traded the sixth overall pick to the Atlanta Falcons. In exchange, the Browns received the following picks from the Falcons: No. 27 (first round), No. 59 (second round) and No. 124 (fourth round) this year, plus the Falcons' first- and fourth-round picks in 2012.

Later, the Browns traded the 27th pick and their third-round (No. 70) pick to the Kansas City Chiefs, so they could move up six spots to select Taylor at No. 21.

Taylor has often been projected as a 3-4 nose tackle, but General Manager Tom Heckert and coach Pat Shurmur are convinced he will fit well in their 4-3 scheme alongside Ahtyba Rubin. Taylor had 62 tackles, including seven for loss, and two sacks last season at Baylor.

The 6-foot-3, 337-pound Taylor comes to Cleveland with some baggage. He started his collegiate career at Penn State, but he transferred to Baylor after he was dismissed from the team following several off-the-field incidents, including an on-campus fight. According to a recent report from CBS Sports, some teams had concerns about bones growing together in Taylor's feet, though Heckert said Taylor checked out fine.

After he was picked, Taylor talked to local reporters via phone from New York. Here is a transcript from the interview:

Browns defensive lineman Phil Taylor Conference Call 4-28-11

(On his general reaction to being drafted by the Browns and if he was surprised) -- “No, I wasn’t that surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be me at first when you guys were at the sixth pick overall, but when I saw you guys trade back, I started to think a little bit. Then when the 21st pick came around and Kansas City was still there, then my agent told me that you guys were doing some trading around, and I kind of thought it was going to be me and that’s when the phone rang.”

(On how he describes himself as a player and what he does well) -- “I stop the run. I’m a great run-stopping defensive tackle and I can give you a good pass rush as well.”

(On if he is comfortable in the 4-3 defense) -- “Yes, I played the 4-3 my whole college career.”

(On if he has thought about starting or playing a lot right away) -- “I’ve thought about it, but going to the next level, it’s a tough task. I just want to take it all in and work hard and do what I’ve got to do to get on the field.”

(On playing in cold weather) -- “I’ve played in the cold before. I was at Penn State for two years and also I grew up in Washington D.C., so playing in the cold wouldn’t be problem for me at all.”

(On why he thought the Browns were going to draft him) -- “My agent was just giving me a lot of info. When I was on my visit, it felt like home and I liked the coaches a lot. When I saw that they had traded up to the 21st pick, I just had a feeling it was going to be me.”

(On if leaving Penn State was a concern during draft process) -- “I don’t think it was a concern. I was young and I made a mistake, but I moved on from it. Then I went down to Baylor and just made the best of a second chance, and I’m happy to be in this situation now.”

(On where he is right now) -- “I’m backstage at the draft, still at the draft. I’m in New York.”

(On if he is glad the issues with his feet are over with) -- “It was just rumors. That’s all it was. I just figured it was a couple other teams later back that wanted to throw some things out there, so they could maybe end up getting me. That’s all that was.”

(On if he took note of where he was rated in mock drafts) -- “It’s not up to those guys in rating players and all that. It’s all up to the GMs and the coaches in who they want, so that’s what I think.”

(On his statistical improvement from his junior to senior year at Baylor) -- “The biggest thing was getting my weight down. That was one thing that helped me out a lot my senior year was playing at a lower weight, doing the necessary things off the field with my cardio which is what helped me out tremendously.”

(On the impact of his trip to Kenya on his life) -- “It was just a humbling experience. I went down there and helped out the underprivileged kids there and it just made me realize how blessed I am and how fortunate we are to be here.”

(On his pre-draft conversations with Tom Heckert) -- “We didn’t really talk a lot other than when I was there for the visit. I guess they were trying to keep it a real secret, but  I’m just glad they picked me. I look forward to being there and playing for the Cleveland Browns.”

(On who he compares himself to as a player) -- “I compare myself a lot to like a Casey Hampton, Vince Wilfork type of person.”

(On being selected over other big names still on the draft board such as Da’Quan Bowers) -- “Yes, I was waiting. I didn’t think he would drop this far. I thought he was going to go like every pick after the 15th or so. I thought it was probably going to be him. I’m just happy right now.”

(On if he will use being passed up by other teams as motivation this year) -- “Who wouldn’t? I’m going to use it as motivation to make me better, to play even harder.”


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