From high school quarterback to NFL defensive back.
Cam Taylor-Britt had his ups and downs in a Nebraska uniform, but on Friday it was only ups as the Cincinnati Bengals selected him in the second round with the 60th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The 2021 campaign was Taylor-Britt’s best as a Husker. A team captain, he earned himself second-team All-Big Ten honors by both the coaches and media while recording career-highs in tackles (51) and passes defended (12). The 5-foot-11, 196-pounder from Montgomery, Alabama, ended his four-year career in Lincoln with 140 tackles, 27 passes defended, six interceptions, nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks.
Following the season, Taylor-Britt, who starred at quarterback for Park Crossing High School, earned invites to both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. While in Indianapolis for the Combine, Taylor-Britt opened eyes when he ran an official 4.38-second 40-yard dash, the seventh-fastest among the 31 corners that ran.
“Speed was one of the biggest things that I wanted to show and I did that at the Combine,” Taylor Britt said at Nebraska’s Pro Day on March 22.
Taylor-Britt didn’t shed a tear, but his eyes got a bit misty when asked what kind of emotions he was feeling while looking back at his Pro Day inside Hawks Championship Center.
That day was meant for Taylor-Britt and his nine other Husker teammates to show off their skills and athletic ability once again in front of NFL scouts. But it also served as the final time Taylor-Britt would be working out with that many friends and family in attendance inside Hawks.
“I’m not going to showcase any skills anymore on this field, so it is a little emotional,” Taylor-Britt said as he fought off tears. “Especially out there with the guys that we were working out with, I’ve been those guys since I got to college. I didn’t know anybody else—those were the guys I was with from day number one.”
The fact that Taylor-Britt was drafted means NFL scouts were impressed with how he covered some of the best receivers the Big Ten has to offer in his career, including Penn State’s Jahan Dotson, Purdue’s David Bell and Ohio State’s Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Taylor-Britt’s best trait may be his versatility. During pre-draft meeting with NFL teams, Taylor-Britt said he was asked about playing different positions in the secondary, like corner, safety and nickel safety. He doesn’t care exactly where he lines up.
“I’m willing to do it for the team, whatever’s best for the team,” Taylor-Britt said. “Once I learn it, I’ll do it to the best of my ability and we’re going to get it.”
Kyle Crabbs, Director of Scouting at The Draft Network, really liked parts of Taylor-Britt’s game. Outside of the mental mistake as a punt returner at Illinois which cost his team 2 points in last year’s season-opener, Taylor-Britt’s background as a special teams player will only help him at the next level.
“He’s super competitive, I think that’s the number one thing for him,” Crabbs said. “I know he’s played special teams for Nebraska too, so those defensive backs that can add value outside of being an outside corner, or potentially playing safety, which I know some people think Cam may have to do at the next level, but his competitive toughness is excellent.”