Dynasty Interview: Lorenzo Taliaferro
April 7, 2014 | Chad Scott
Before last Thursday’s “Faked Goods” podcast, Rich Hribar was asking the Twitter community for Erik Lora’s birth date. I literally searched the interwebs for 20 minutes before I said to myself, “Self. Why not just tweet @ him?”
I searched for Lora’s twitter handle and clicked on it. Much to my surprise, he replied back and Rich had the info he was searching for. It can’t be this easy, right?
As I was patting myself on the back, Rich mentioned he needed my guy, Lorenzo Taliaferro’s birth date as well. Taliaferro has been my rookie RB6 since his combine performance – so this was going to be interesting.
Again, I searched out Taliaferro’s Twitter handle and immediately clicked. These “small-school” prospects don’t have quite the same following as a Sammy Watkins or a Mike Evans, but I was intimidated, nonetheless.
Like Lora, I asked Taliaferro for his date of birth and clicked the “Follow” button.
Within 10 minutes, he followed me back and private messaged me his birth date. If you’re on the tweets machine, you know a common tactic is to follow someone to message them back information and then – usually – they will unfollow.
The next morning, I checked back to see if he was still there… he was. I got ballsy and messaged him back whether or not he could answer a few questions for me at some point. I played it casual – close to the chest. After all, it’s not every day this sort of thing presents itself to me. After he replied back with a “Yes” and his “digits,” this article sort of wrote itself.
Let’s begin with his two seasons at Coastal Carolina:
Taliaferro literally slaughtered the all-time rushing records at CCU. Stats look fine and dandy, but how does he measure up in the metrics department?
I’d say he stacks up just fine against the other “top” running backs in this class.
The metrics and stats are all very good, but I wanted to get to know Taliaferro and what he’s all about. Here’s a basic transcript of our texting conversation:
Before we get into the combine and NFL draft, I have to ask which college football feat or memory will stick with you for life?
“The most memorable thing for me is probably winning in Montana’s -8 degree weather – the coldest college football game – and we won when all odds were against the team from the beach.”
Taliaferro had 115 yards rushing along with two touchdowns – including a 51-yarder. Fairly certain my 34 year old body couldn’t muster enough for a five yard run in that kind of cold.
Draftniks and prospect enthusiasts alike had a glimpse of the complete all-around game you possess at this year’s NFL Combine. Can you give us a taste of how you prepared for the event and what was going through your mind during it?
“I didn’t have much time to prepare for the combine because I was short-noticed at the Senior Bowl. I’m still at school to graduate until May and I didn’t get the invite until after the Senior Bowl. My trainer, Terrence Butler, who has his own business down here in Myrtle Beach (ESA), prepared me well.”
I’d say so. Taliaferro was the RB13 in terms of 40-time (4.58 officially) despite being one of the biggest backs out there (6-2, 230 lbs). His agility scores were off the charts, as well. Dude is a Wildebeest.
It’s obvious you’ve put a lot of work into your craft, but how does someone of your size score that well at the combine?
“I’ve been watching the combine on TV since middle school so I had a glimpse of everything that went into it. I work hard to try and be the best I can be.”
On a side note, I’ve been watching a lot of “Heroes” lately via Netflix. Still searching for my super powers…
Perhaps Lorenzo Taliaferro wasn’t a household name prior to the combine, but there’s been plenty of talk about you since. In your mind, what is the most important attribute an incoming rookie running back should possess?
“You have to know your role so I think a rookie RB – or any rookie for that matter – should prepare for anything. Special teams, specifically.”
This is probably my favorite answer because he realizes the importance of special teams play. Being an astute special teamer can propel you into a starting role opportunity sometime down the road. He gets that.
Phil Savage recently said you were the best pass protector at the Senior Bowl and labeled you ‘underrated’ with a versatile, 3-down skill set. High praise from someone who has that much experience in NFL evaluations. What did the experience at the Senior Bowl teach you, if anything?
“Phil is a great guy who gave me a chance of a lifetime. I learned it doesn’t matter your size, your name or your school – if you can ball, you can ball.”
Savage is the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl and a former GM of the Cleveland Browns. He’s been a scout and Director of Player Personnel since 1994 – when Bill Belichek hired him as an intern.
Is there a running back – past or present – you model your game after? Have any pros reached out to you to give any pointers or insight?
“I model my game after Jim Brown and Adrian Peterson. I’ve talked with Tyler Thigpen, Da’Rick Rogers and Ahman Green who have really given my awesome pointers.”
Not gonna lie, kind of wished he said Earl Campbell, but the two mentioned should be every aspiring NFL running back’s role model. I’ve seen Talaiferro compared to Matt Forte for his pass-catching prowess, but I see a little Eddie Lacy with the ball in his hands – minus the never-ending Madden spin move mashing.
What does Lorenzo Taliaferro bring to a potential NFL suitor and what motivates you to fulfill your dreams of becoming an NFL star?
“I bring a work ethic and a ‘get better’ attitude with leadership skills. I want to win and have fun. The football field is a place you can go and let loose legally – nothing else matters when you’re out there.”
I can only assume he said “legally” for the violence he displays when running. Please watch the second half of the Coastal Carolina versus Liberty game on Draftbreakdown.com. You can literally see the defense’s collective wills dying with each carry.
There seems to be a lot of similarities between you and Boston College’s, Andre Williams (See Rich’s Rotoviz article here). I hold steady the biggest difference between the two of you is your hands out of the backfield. In watching tape, Coastal Carolina was able to move you all around the formations, showing just how versatile you are. Is catching the ball something you’ve had to really work on or does it come naturally?
“I would say it came naturally, but as a child, I always played catch with friends and family. I was that annoying guy always trying to throw when everyone else wanted to chill.”
For what it’s worth, I’m that guy, too.
Lorenzo and I texted back and forth a few more times after the interview and he let me know his agent has him projected as a fifth-seventh rounder, even though he has a (now) fourth round grade.
I’ve seen people begin dynasty startup drafts. My advice to you is, grab Taliaferro as a late-round flier. Whether or not he gets drafted in May is of no concern. Someone is going to give him a shot at the next level and he’s a perfect candidate to be this year’s Zac Stacy.