Lions rookie defensive end Devin Taylor, left, was drafted in the fourth round. (Daniel Mears/Detroit News)
Allen Park — Devin Taylor takes a knee on the sidelines of the Lions' practice facility, admiring brightly colored wrist bands that drape both arms.
The 40 wrist bands are messages or causes for people and organizations Taylor cares about and they make for a colorful explosion on his arms. They support cancer, lupus and children groups. They are memorials for fallen friends and heroes.
Taylor wants to speak loudly for those that need his voice. However, he does not want to speak loudly on the field. Do you remember when Barry Sanders handed the ball to the referees after scoring a touchdown? Taylor, a defensive end, wants to be that guy.
He wants to be a monster during the play and low key when it is over. Do not stereotype Taylor as the typical loudmouth SEC player from South Carolina. He is not.
'All you heard was a big clap'
Taylor was on the field for one of the most explosive plays of the 2012 college football season. South Carolina teammate Jadeveon Clowney blasted Michigan running back Vincent Smith in the fourth quarter of the Gamecock's 33-28 victory over the Wolverines in the Outback Bowl. Clowney flexed. Teammates jumped around and the nation buzzed.
"All you heard was a big clap, and you saw his (Smith's) helmet flying," Taylor said. "It got the whole team going. That motivated us to go harder and get back on the field."
The Lions selected Taylor in the fourth round to make plays like that at defensive end. It is something Taylor plans on doing. And when he does make those plays, do not expect Taylor to make the All-NFL Celebration team.
"I am hyper, but I am not like the showboat person," he said. "I want to go back out and do something more special than the last time."
Do you remember the annoying first-down signals from former Lions wide receiver Roy Williams when the team was down two touchdowns? This guy won't do that.
The Lions used the fifth overall pick to select Ziggy Ansah at the same position. Obviously they are looking for production from the outside to complement the dynamic inside duo of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
Fairley has made bold statements this offseason that he wants to go to a Super Bowl and called himself and Suh the best inside tackles in the game.
If that's the case, it should open up things for young guys like Ansah and Taylor.
Taylor is an imposing figure (6-foot-7, 265 pounds) and he has good speed and motor. He is viewed by some as a fourth-round steal, but it is up to coaches to get the best out of him.
Not like other rookies
Ansah rooms with Taylor during OTAs and sits in meeting rooms with him. He says Taylor is not like the other rookies that come in wanting to clown around after making an explosion play.
"You can tell he is really focused in meetings," Ansah said. "He does not want to make any mistakes."
But Taylor is just 22 years old. Young players celebrate and jump around after making big plays.
"I am pretty sure that the person I have been around won't," Ansah said. "He will be able to make plays, but he will be cool about it."
Taylor said his job is simple. He wants to use his raw speed to put heat on the quarterback. But he admits he needs help from coaches to make him better and looks forward to talking to Fairley, who said he wants to meet with the young rush ends to work out game plans on the field.
"I want quarterbacks to feel like they don't know where to go," Taylor said.
Meanwhile Taylor will go through his pregame ritual of putting the wrist bands on and play for the sick and disadvantaged.
"It kind of helps give me something to play for," he said. "It is not just for myself. It is for family, friends and other people. It is like if I do good I am doing good for others. That makes me feel good inside."