With the 29th pick in the NFL Draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars select … Taven Bryan, defensive tackle, Florida. I’m sure many of you had the defensive star slotted to one of the better defensive teams in he NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars took a strong defensive line and made it even better on Thursday night. It’s a formula Executive Vice-President Tom Coughlin rode to two Super Bowl titles as head coach of the New York Giants.
The Jaguars may have made a change in their draft approach when the Baltimore Ravens selected South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst. Coughlin met the media following the select, citing the team knew there were players on the draft board that could help this team win now and for the future.
“We felt with about ten picks to go, that the names we associated with our pick, we thought we would have wanted those players [to] come to us, but then it looked as if some of those people that we had prioritized would not be there,” Coughlin said. “But fortunately, when it came our pick, we did have an opportunity to draft Taven Bryan; an outstanding, 3-technique penetrator [and] outstanding athlete who is 6’-5”, 293 pounds, [and] ran under 5-flat. [He has] outstanding quickness, outstanding ability to come off on the ball, has position flexibility in that he can play inside and he can play outside. So, we have added another pass-rushing, penetrating defensive lineman and he will fit in very well with our room.”
Bryan will work into a rotation that features Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones. It might be a bit cramped, with one of the veterans either losing playing time or having a hard time making the final 53-man roster. It’s a good problem to have for the second-ranked defense in the NFL last season.
The one thing that stands out about Bryan is he has been compared to J.J. Watt. If you did not know, the Jaguars bypassed Watt in the 2011 Draft to select quarterback Blaine Gabbert. At 6-foot-5 and 291 pounds Bryan had an impressive Combine and his workouts were off the charts. If Taven Bryan is close to Watt’s production, this team got a steal.
Per NFL.com, Taven Bryan is a “talented defender with rare athletic ability and play traits. Bryan’s lack of production is due to a lack of instincts and feel for the position and he’s still in a developmental phase as a prospect. Bryan played inside at Florida but has the size and talent to play inside or outside. His instincts and feel are below average so his development could take time, but when he is a finished product, Bryan has the ability to become a disruptive, highly productive talent with a very high ceiling.”
Many NFL insiders thought Coughlin would do the same thing on the offensive line – taking the best player available. When good line prospects came off the board early – Mike McGlinchy of Notre Dame and Kolton Miller of UCLA, that too may have changed the team’s focus. Coughlin spoke about players coming off the draft board earlier than expected.
“There were a couple of outstanding offensive linemen that went real early in the draft, and there was some people surrounded, some players that we would covet in that spot. This was the highest-rated player when it came time for us to pick,” Coughlin explained. “And so, as stated earlier, we certainly are going to be hopefully value-matched up. This is a good circumstance for us because we, again, gain strength with another outstanding player at defensive lineman.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars wanted a player who was a solid person as well as someone who could grow into a leader. Taven Bryan’s meeting with the organization was positive, one that left an impression on management. Taven
“He is a solid young man. There are no issues there. With his personality, he’s one of those guys who is a weight-room guy. In the weight room, with that group of defensive linemen, I’m sure there’s a lot of camaraderie. You expect a guy to come in and get a feel for the room and watch the guys. If I was a young man going into that room, I would be getting Calais’ coffee [laughs]. I would be learning everything I possibly could learn from a player like him [Calais Campbell],” Coughlin added.