MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes head coach Jimmy Johnson joined the Joe Rose Show on Tuesday. Johnson detailed his history and experiences with Dolphins’ great Jason Taylor, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 5th.
On Monday, Taylor announced that Johnson, his former head coach in Miami, will be presenting him at the Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
“Jason called me and I told him I would be honored to present him,” Johnson said. “I think I’ve had 12 or 13 players that I’ve coached go into the hall of fame. Jason belongs right there with them,” he added. “He was such an impactful player.”
Taylor’s impact was evident over 15 NFL seasons. He recorded 139.5 sacks, ranking seventh in the league’s all time history.
Taylor spent 13 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Jimmy Johnson was the coach who drafted him in 1997.
Johnson shared some insight on his thought process twenty years ago when he made the decision to select Taylor. When the second round began, Johnson had his eyes on Louisville cornerback Sam Madison but also on Taylor- the explosive pass rusher from Akron. Johnson took a gamble on both players being available to him over the course of two rounds.
“In the second round, I was trying to decide if I should take Jason Taylor or Sam Madison,” recalled Johnson. “Jason was more of a ‘tweener,’ so I thought he might fall a little bit. I ended up taking Sam in the second and Jason was waiting for us in the third.”
Johnson’s gamble paid off. Taylor fell into round three due to concerns over his size. Weighing around 235 lbs after his college career caused concerns over how his explosiveness would translate to the NFL level.
Johnson gravitated to Taylor prior to that 1997 draft, since Taylor reminded him of another Hall of Famer.
“When I was scouting (Taylor), he reminded me a lot of another guy I drafted: Charles Haley.”
Before the 49ers drafted Haley in the fourth round in 1986, there were concerns over his speed. He was also a ‘tweener,’ having played outside linebacker in 3-4 schemes and defensive end in a 4-3. Seeing Haley’s success made Johnson realize that Taylor could follow a similar path.
The rest is history.
Listen to the full interview of Jimmy Johnson on The Joe Rose Show above.