In year's past the Jaguars were able to easily address needs and take the best players available on their board in the early rounds of the NFL Draft. That's because the team was so bereft of talent that there were needs all over the roster.
The 2018 version of the Jaguars roster, however, is loaded with talent. Sure, the team has some needs, but none of them are major concerns. Could they have attempted to upgrade the right guard position? Wide receiver? Tight end? Sure, they could have. But instead of addressing a perceived need on the offensive line or elsewhere the Jaguars elected to take the best player available on their board.
Enter Taven Bryan. The 6'5'', 291 lb. defensive lineman known as "The Wyoming Wild Man" tested off the charts at the combine. He had one of the best combines for a defensive tackle . . . ever. He certainly has work to do in order to become a dominate NFL defensive lineman, but the comparisons to JJ Watt are far from unfounded. He has a rare combination of size, strength, and explosiveness to go with a nasty play style.
Many disgruntled fans have alluded to the fact that Bryan's college numbers aren't all that impressive. And they aren't. But when you look at the tape you see a guy that is, at times, virtually unblockable. His lighting quick first step converts to power and leaves interior offensive lineman grasping at air. Under the tutelage of Marion Hobby and dominant defensive lineman like Calais Campbell and Malik Jackson, Bryan should quickly become an above average defensive lineman. He'll likely start out as a three technique, but should have the versatility to play multiple positions along the defensive line.
While the addition of Bryan doesn't address an immediate need, it will make the transition away from a Marcell Dareus, Malik Jackson, or even Calais Campbell much easier in a season or two. All three players have monster contracts that are unsustainable in the long term when you consider how many young, ascending players the Jaguars will need to lock up in the near future.
If I were the decision maker for the Jaguars (I'm not) I would have opted to address a need, while selecting one of the most impressive players on the board in offensive guard Will Hernandez. But do I blame the team for selecting a freaky athlete that has the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl caliber defensive lineman? Absolutely not.
Bryan should be a welcome addition in Jacksonville and will help contribute to the popular "Sacksonville" nickname that the Jaguars defensive line earned last season.
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