When the New York Giants signed Devin Taylor as a free agent in May it looked as if the Giants might have found the additional veteran pass rusher they appeared to need. Defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul played an extraordinary amount of snaps last season, and it seemed logical both would benefit from some rest.
With 11.5 sacks over the past two seasons, the 27-year-old Taylor looked like just what the doctor ordered to bolster the Giants defensive line depth.
Only, things didn’t quite work out. Taylor missed time at the beginning of training camp with an injury, and fell behind his competition. He was let go by the Giants at the end of the preseason.
Surprisingly, when the Giants needed defensive end reinforcements this week with Vernon’s status continuing to be uncertain due to his ankle injury, Romeo Okwara on IR with a knee injury, and Cap Capi suffering from a hamstring injury, Taylor was still unemployed.
He’s now back with the Giants.
“I felt like I was going to be somewhere, I just didn’t know where specifically,” said Taylor, who has 15 career sacks. “I always just kept my body, kept my mind mentally ready.”
Taylor admitted that being without a team for the first eight weeks of the season was odd.
“I would say it was different,” said Taylor, who played the previous four seasons for the Detroit Lions. “It’s almost like whenever you do have that transition and you don’t play anymore. But then you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to feel like. You’re doing stuff, but you don’t really know what you’re going to do yet.
“Honestly, when you don’t play, you do miss it a lot more than you realize you think you do. You find out if you miss it or if you love the game or not by how much you miss it. So that’s one of those things I was traversing through.”
The Giants’ pass rush has been anemic so far this season. With 13 sacks, the Giants are tied for 26th. Football Outsiders has the Giants ranked 25th in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate at 5.6 percent.
If Taylor shows over the final nine games that he can boost that pass rush perhaps he won’t have to face the NFL unemployment line next season.