Why the Chiefs signed offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor

By Caleb_James

on March 18, 2023 11:30 am

The Kansas City Chiefs on Monday signed former Jacksonville Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor to a lucrative four-year deal and announced he may be a new member of the team tackle left move forward.

A four-year veteran from Florida, Taylor has shown improvements every year in his pro career but excelled at passing security, especially in the 2022 season.

Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence attempted 584 passes — which ranked seventh in the NFL — while Taylor’s new quarterback Patrick Mahomes attempted 648 (third in the NFL).

Mahomes is the MVP and Lawrence is a rising star, so it makes sense that both teams would need a tackle that has proven top-tier pass protection. Taylor would have even played in a similar system to Andy Reid, playing for Doug Pederson, a longtime Reid assistant and former Chiefs offensive coordinator, in 2022.

The coincidences would continue even further in 2022 when teams AFC West and AFC South are set to play each other. This meant both the Chiefs and Jaguars would have offense games against common opponents, including the Las Vegas Raiders and their star defensive end Maxx Crosby.

Maxx Crosby vs. Kansas City

Crosby has been a thorn in the side of the Chiefs since joining the league in 2019. After going back and reviewing the film, Crosby tallied three sacks and a whopping 14 pressure points against the Chiefs in 2022.

These performances were acclaimed by many including Andy Reid, complimenting and praising Crosby.

Reid mentioned that Crosby was up against former chief Andrew Wylie (who signed a new contract with the Washington Commanders to open up the free hand), and while he was offering his praise, Wylie struggled, taking all three sacks and most of the pressure allowed.

The combination of size, strength, and athletic ability that Crosby played with posed problems for Wylie. Mahomes made 50 “true passing attempts” — traditional no-screen pocket passes, run-pass options (RPOs) and jet sweeps — in two games against the Raiders. Wylie matched Crosby in 44 of those games.

Of those plays, Wylie received help from a chip block or alignment of his tight end 22 times, exactly half of all true pass blocking situations.

The current free agent and left tackle at the time Orlando Brown faced Crosby in true pass-blocking situations just six times in 2022, and in the two games against the Raiders, he received help from chip blocks or tight end 19 times – Alignment.

Brown was primarily matched against former All-Pro Chandler Jones in the first matchup, but Jones did not play in the second matchup.

From 50 true pass rushing downs against Crosby and The Raiders, the Chiefs’ tackle received help 55% of time (Wylie) and 38% of the time (Brown versus players other than Crosby). While they would win the Super Bowl, the Chiefs wanted to clean up their tackle game this offseason.

Jawaan Taylor vs Maxx Crosby

Crosby went into the Week 9 matchup with 6.0 sacks and was looking to continue his hot game. Taylor had other plans and took care of business early and often.

Of the 22 true-pass blocking downs, Taylor won 19 total plays, and of the 15 one-on-one plays, he lost just three and conceded only two pressings throughout the game. Crosby finished the contest without a sack.

Taylor just got help 32% of his games against Crosby, and it was clear early on that he was comfortable on an island.

Taylor is more athletic than Wylie and Brown, and he used this to his advantage to pass the set vertically and match Crosby’s athletic edging play.

Crosby couldn’t win on the fringe with his athletic ability, so he decides to win by power. He comes off the cuff and initially suspends Taylor. Taylor realizes this and uses his anchor to slow the onslaught. He kicks his feet back and drops his hips, regaining strength and creating leverage to stop Crosby. A clean pocket and the ball is off Lawrence.

Taylor’s technique and fundamentals showcase a fluid player and one who can rival the best pass rushers in the game.

Taylor’s weight distribution is impeccable. Away from his drive and catch by drifting off the inside foot and catching with the outside foot in the pass guard, Taylor maintains his weight and power on the inside foot while staying light on the outside. His sentences are short and choppy, which helps him balance and turn quickly. When Crosby gets to the arc (the point of attack for the offensive tackle and defensive end), he tries to hit with his hand and rip the edge, but Taylor lands a well-timed punch and easily pushes it upfield, forming the pocket around Laurentius.

It’s not a devastating block, but it’s more than enough to get the job done consistently.

The final result

Taylor brings natural pass blocking skills that Brown and Wylie have lacked over the past two seasons.

While he did receive help on a few occasions against Crosby, it should be noted that the average in-game assist was far higher for Wylie (44%), while Brown was similar in terms of assist at 36%, but far less Snaps against Crosby played as Wylie and Taylor.

While it’s still up in the air whether Taylor becomes the Chiefs’ new left tackle or stays on the right, the team is paying for a player who can consistently stay on an island against some of the game’s elite pass rushers.

Taylor was outstanding against Crosby in 2022 and it looks like this will be a fun matchup to watch in the future.

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