Taylor attended New Mexico Highlands University, where he had starred in basketball and track, earning all-conference wide receiver honors in 1956 and 1957.
Taylor first played eight games as a linebacker with the Chicago Bears of the National Football League(NFL) before moving to the Denver Broncos of the AFL for the 1960 season. With the Broncos, he switched positions and became a receiver. Third in all-time receptions (543) and receiving yards (6,872) for the Denver Broncos, Taylor was the Broncos' team MVP in 1963, 1964 and 1965, and an AFL All-Star in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1965. An original Bronco, Taylor was part of the team's inaugural class of Ring of Famers in 1984.
Taylor was the first professional football receiver ever to make 100 catches in a single season, accomplishing the feat in only 14 games (1961). He had four seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving, and averaged 84.7 catches per year from 1960 to 1965, then the highest six-year total in professional football history. Taylor completed his career with the Houston Oilers in 1967 and 1968.
After his playing career, Taylor went into a long career as a coach. He was an assistant coach for the Super Bowl championship teams of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s.