Every draft season, there are a few names that seem to come out of nowhere late in the season as the first round approaches.
This is usually a case of the media being slow to unearth certain prospects, but it's safe to say that all 32 teams have already properly scouted such a player.
One guy that has gotten his pub late is Boise State's Jamar Taylor, and that's who we focus our spotlight on for the final time this draft season. As always, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller (@NFLDraftScout) is along for the ride, providing the expertise in our look at potential first-round draft picks for the Falcons.
In the 5-foot-11, 192-pound cornerback Taylor, Miller sees a guy that hasn't risen at all really. Miller's had Taylor as a top 50 pick throughout the season and he said we're finally seeing more of the last-minute draft coverage going to Taylor with other prospects coverage nearly exhausted.
In the last seven years, five Boise State defensive backs have been drafted into the NFL and Taylor looks to be the most current one. As a backup during his freshman season, he played in all 13 games with 24 tackles, two tackles for loss and an interception. He redshirted in 2009 and came on strong as a starting sophomore in 2010 with 35 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and three forced fumbles.
A leg injury caused him to miss portions of his 2011 season, but he still managed 27 tackles, two tackles for loss and two interceptions. In his return for the final game of the season, against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl, he returned an interception for a 100-yard touchdown.
Taylor's senior season left a mark on the country and his conference as the first-team All-Mountain West honoree totaled 51 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, nine pass break ups, four interceptions and three forced fumbles.
After four years of solid play, Miller sees Taylor as a first-round, early second-round pick and he's in the mix among a deep and talented cornerback class. He's a player with starting potential as a rookie and Miller expects Taylor to be there for the Falcons at No. 30 in the first round, barring a major run on defensive backs. If selected by the Falcons, Miller sees a nice fit.
"The Falcons need a physical cornerback who can mug receivers at the line of scrimmage and play with strength on the edge," Miller said. "Taylor can be that guy. He would be an ideal No. 2 cornerback opposite Asante Samuel."
Despite the current trend of larger cornerbacks, Taylor is still considered "the prototype" by Miller and team scouts. "He's big enough to hang with bigger receivers," Miller says of Taylor, and he's more than physical enough to hold his own in the league. His physical play and strong hands to work over receivers are two of his best attributes and while he doesn't have the speed to recover if he's beat, his athleticism can make up for it.
"Taylor is a man coverage cornerback with good hands at the line of scrimmage," Miller said. "Where he can improve is in zone coverage and when playing in a system where he has to react to the ball. Taylor's at his best in the first five yards. He can be slow to click and go when asked to change direction in zone play."
As for a pro comparison, Miller sees a former Alabama corner in Taylor's game. Like Kareem Jackson in Houston, a 2010 first-round pick, he thinks Taylor's got the goods to be a solid No. 2 option at corner based on his size, strength and toughness on the outside. A review of the Mock Monitor shows a number of analysts pairing the Falcons with a cornerback and while at No. 30 in the draft, landing one of the best in the draft at a premium position like corner could be difficult, the Falcons could still land a quality player like Taylor to step in and start from Day One.