NFL Draft Q&A: Oklahoma State DT Vincent Taylor
Our daily NFL Draft Q&A series continues with Oklahoma State defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, who had to leave New Orleans at age 11 due to Hurricane Katrina, his family moving to San Antonio, where he would return in his final college game as the Cowboys played in the Alamo Bowl. He declared early for the NFL draft as a redshirt junior, but will have his degree in May and stopped to talk to us about his draft prep ...
Q: Where are you doing your training for the combine and pro day?
A: "I'm at EXOS in San Diego. I've been here since Jan. 9. Solomon Thomas, Taco (Charlton), Jabrill Peppers, Pat Mahomes and other guys are out here."
Q: You're 6-foot-2, 305 pounds. What's a good 40 time for you at the combine?
A: "Low 5 would be good, 5.1. Nothing over a 5.1, but I'm going to try to push myself into 5 flat or under 5."
Q: You had four years of school, but how much did you think about the decision to leave for the NFL or come back for a fifth year?
A: "I thought about it a lot. I graduate in May with a degree in education and I'm taking online classes and I'll be walking the stage in May. I had two good years back to back and feel like I put up good numbers for a defensive tackle. With all I accomplished at Oklahoma State, I feel like what if I came back and didn't put up good numbers, teams are watching film of me getting double-teamed, so I felt like I made the right decision."
Q: Did you hear anything back from an advisory board or anything like that?
A: "Right now, I'm hearing I'm a Day 2 guy. The mock draft are saying second, third, fourth round, but I try not to pay attention to that. Just go to the combine, perform well and go my best."
Q: How much can your special-teams game help you? You blocked four kicks this past year.
A: "It can help me a lot. It shows teams how athletic I am, how seriously I take special teams. I led the country in blocked field goals."
Q: Are there a few defensive linemen you watch most in the NFL?
A: "Michael Bennett, he's a guy who's very athletic for the position. Ndamokung Suh is very physical. Guys like that."
Q: I've read some great stories about you and how as difficult as it was, getting relocated by Hurricane Katrina helped mold you into who you are today.
A: "It shaped me a lot. It's a testimony that you can be new to everything, moving to a place I'd never been and never thought I'd be, having to rebuild and start my life over. I finally got my life on track, but it shaped me a lot."
Q: How often are you back in New Orleans?
A: "My parents moved back to New Orleans. Before I came to San Diego, I was in New Orleans. They just had a tornado hit in New Orleans, and it affected families there. My parents and other people were giving out bottled water and personal things like toothbrushes and deodorant and food to families affected by the tornado. I know how much the people in San Antonio took care of me when I moved there."
Q: Who's the best player you went up against in college?
A: "There's a lot of good players. The center from West Virginia (Tyler Orlosky), I had one of my best games against him. (Kyle) Fuller from Baylor was a pretty good guy."
Q: You have a favorite sports team, aside from Oklahoma State?
A: "I like the Saints, being from New Orleans. That's normally my team, but I'll like any team that's willing to take me in the draft."
Q: Are there NFL teams that you've talked to the most so far?
A: "One team I did talk to was the Eagles. Dallas had me fill out an evaluation they have, but that's about it. My pro day is March 9."
Q: We always ask for food recommendations. If I'm in Stillwater, what's the best place to eat?
A: "Eskimo Joe's is the famous one. It's what they're known for. If I had to send somebody somewhere, I'd say Eskimo Joe's. They're famous for their cheese fries, so first time there, get the cheese fries."
Check out our other NFL Draft Q&As: Stanford safety Dallas Lloyd, West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas, Florida tackle David Sharpe, Mississippi State WR/RB Brandon Holloway, Minnesota cornerback Jalen Myrick, Oklahoma State tackle Victor Salako, N.C. State center Joe Scelfo, Army linebacker Andrew King, Louisana Tech receiver Trent Taylor, Tennessee running back Alvin Kamara, USC defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu and Saint Francis safety Lorenzo Jerome.