- By Josh Clark
For most, a trip to the desert is a chance to shed weight.
Tennessee Cornerback Alontae Taylor did the opposite, spending the run-up to his Pro Day reshaping his body at EXOS in Phoenix, Arizona.
Working with strength, speed and health coaches, he added 12 pounds of muscle while pursuing what might seem to be a contradictory goal: running a 4.38 second 40-yard dash.
As it turned out, he didn’t just reach that goal, he cut his body fat from 7% to 5%, while also shaving 2 tenths of a second off his 40 goal.
He clocked a 4.36 – the fastest among all corners in the draft.
“I never thought I’d put this much weight on,. I’ve never been this big before” he told media late last month in Tennessee. “But I knew I was gonna (meet my 40 goal). Going in … I told every scout ‘I’m (gonna) run that.”
Entering 2022 as a projected mid-round pick, Taylor may need both size and his extraordinary speed at the next level.
NFL.com and some league analysts project him as a Cover 2 or Cover 3 corner but some scouts have projected him as a future safety.
Taylor has participated in official “Top 30” visits with a handful of clubs, including the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.
Through his collegiate career, he has played a mix of man, zone and nickel with the Volunteers.
Whatever’s asked, he wants to show the league he’s willing and able.
“I can go into any system and adapt to any playbook,” he said.
Taylor has made bold proclamations like that before.
But given the fact he backed up similar words to scouts on his 40 time last month, he’s hopeful they’re beginning to understand his promises aren’t empty ones.
“I’m a man of my word,” he said.