In his first two seasons at Virginia Tech, Tyrod Taylor was a threat to score with his legs more than he was with his arm, totaling six rushing touchdowns against five passing scores in 2007 and seven rushing touchdowns against two passing scores in 2008.
But the quarterback flipped those numbers in his final two years with the Hokies, registering 13 passing touchdowns against five rushing scores in 2009 and a university single-season record 24 passing touchdowns against five rushing scores in 2010.
Taylor, who was selected by the Ravens in the sixth round of last year’s draft, said his performances in those last two seasons should dispel the stereotype that he is a running quarterback.
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“A lot of people look me and think that my ability to run makes me a runner. I’ve never been that run-first guy,” he said Tuesday during the team’s opening day of a mandatory minicamp. “If I ran, it was probably because I didn’t feel comfortable about a protection or a play was breaking down and I was just trying to buy extra time.
"Right now, it’s definitely a perfect time for me to stay in the pocket and go through your reads and get the ball to checkdowns. We have great backs here, and we have great skill players in the receivers. So why not get the ball into their hands and let them showcase their talents? If necessary, I will take off, and I’ll have that in my bag, too. But that’s nothing I focus on.”
Taylor, who completed his only pass last season for 18 yards and rushed once for two yards, has been mostly operating from the pocket during the team’s offseason workouts. But he will take off as he demonstrated June 6 when he escaped pressure generated by outside linebacker Sergio Kindle and raced down the right sideline for a gain of at least 30 yards.
“It’s nice to have it,” Taylor said of his ability to escape. “It puts stress on the defense, and it’s another element of the game that they have to check.”