So Cravens, a second-round pick who can play safety and linebacker, will wear No. 36 this season -- the same number Taylor wore as a rookie. Taylor eventually changed his number to 21, which no one has worn since he was murdered in 2007. And it’s highly doubtful anyone will wear the number as long as owner Dan Snyder is in charge.
But 36? That’s different. Fullback Darrel Young wore that the last six seasons, but he was allowed to leave via free agency. However, Cravens will be the Redskins' first defensive player since Taylor to wear 36.
A number of safeties since Taylor’s death have expressed what he meant to them and some have worn 21 with other teams, notably Kenny Phillips. Taylor wore 26 at the University of Miami. Former safety Ryan Clark wore No. 21 for part of training camp in 2014 as a tribute to his former teammate and friend.
But Cravens isn’t a bad choice to carry on the legacy. Though Taylor was not considered a hybrid safety, he did look and hit like a linebacker, while running like a receiver. Cravens will play both safety and linebacker -- he’s listed as a safety, but would be their dime linebacker at the very least.
Like Taylor, Cravens is known for playing with passion. Cravens appears to have been a long-time fan of Taylor, even wearing 21 at USC. It’s hard to duplicate what Taylor could do on the field, but if Cravens plays hard and tough, it’s a good bet he’ll honor that number and become a fan favorite.
“He’s definitely my all-time favorite safety, and those are big shoes to fill,” Cravens told Redskins Nation. “So when I come into Washington I’m ready to play and hopefully I can be half as good as that man.”