Taylor, a 6-foot-2, 309-pound rookie free agent, signed with the Jets on Tuesday, July 26, one day after the NFL owners and players agreed to the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, ending a months-long lockout.
The Jets started training camp practices on Monday, Aug. 1 and the team’s first scheduled preseason game is against the Houston Texans on Monday, Aug. 15 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Taylor, who will wear jersey number 63, said he has been spending 16 hours per day at the team’s rigorous training camp and will play in its upcoming preseason games.
Coaches and team officials will evaluate each player’s preseason performance and decide later this month whom to keep on the final 53-man regular-season roster. Currently, there are 89 players listed on the Jets’ training camp roster.
“The other 31 teams in the NFL can also decide to sign a player that was cut from another team,” Taylor said. “So in a sense, I’m trying out for the NFL in general. My ultimate goal, though, is to be a Jet. Although I am still far from being an active member of the team, I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to fight for a spot.”
Because NFL teams were prohibited from signing free agents during the lockout, players such as Taylor now have a very short period of time to learn the team’s playbook and compete for a spot on the final roster.
“It is the hardest thing I have been a part of,” said Taylor, who played collegiate football for the University of Utah. “It makes a typical day in NCAA fall camp seem like a half day in the NFL. The first four play installs were thicker than my college playbook, and we’re maybe halfway through.”
Still, Taylor said he relishes the challenge.
“Although it’s tough, I am really enjoying myself,” Taylor said. “I’m meeting some amazing people and having experiences that I will never forget.”
He said the encouragement he receives from family and friends in Moab is a big help.
“I am grateful for the people back home giving me so much support,” Taylor said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have a chance.”
Earlier this year, Taylor graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in consumer health. He was a three-year starter at the center position for the Utes, earning first-team all-conference honors during his senior year.
Taylor is a 2006 graduate of Grand County High School, helping the Red Devils to a state football championship his senior season. He is married to Kemrey Wells Taylor, a 2007 graduate of GCHS. The couple, who recently moved to New Jersey, are expecting their first child in mid-September.
Taylor is the son of Tom Taylor of Moab and Kristin Millis of Castle Valley.