As players get set to show off their skills at the NFL Combine the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will keep a watchful eye out for players who could help on the offensive front. Could there be a player from the Buccaneers’ own backyard that could help? Florida’s Jawaan Taylor could provide the boost the offensive line needs.
Feeling the Pinch
With little cap room, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have some tough choices to make this offseason. If there are some departures on the offensive line, the team will look quickly to the draft to replace and replenish those positions and get the run game moving again. Hence, the Buccaneers offensive unit could use Jawaan Taylor.
Three Year Starter
Starting in 2016, Taylor would step right into a prominent role on the line as a right tackle for the University of Florida. Starting 12 of 13 games during the season, he would solidify himself as a reliable and durable player. Earning a selection as an All-American, Taylor’s play was immediately noticed. Secondly, he was also the only freshman to start all year for the Gators.
With one year under his belt, Taylor entered the 2017 season as a starting right tackle. Again showing his durability, Taylor started all 11 games. During the season he started nine games at right tackle. In the final two weeks of the season, he moved to left tackle. He proved some versatility in those last two weeks.
Last season Taylor stepped back onto the field at right tackle. He would start 12 of 13 games and aided the Gators to a 10-3 season including a win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Subsequently, declaring himself eligible for the 2019 NFL Draft, Taylor is going to be one of the top offensive linemen in the draft.
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With a large frame, Taylor stands 6’5” and weighs approximately 335 pounds. He is solid and shows surprising athletic ability for a big man. With a quick step and good balance, Taylor is a lineman that will find himself on many team’s draft board. Unfortunately, some analysts have voiced concern over his ability to maintain his weight. After all, he was required to lose weight in order to receive his scholarship to Florida.
I disagree with the above statement. For three years he has been consistent and performed well. He is keeping his weight off and has done everything asked of him.
Notably, Taylor’s strength is in the run game. His attitude shows in his play as he wants to win the battle set in front of him and can be nasty to ensure his victory. Furthermore, he keeps his blocks in front of him with powerful arms that seem long. As a result, he stays smooth with his push from the line and he can quickly find his block even making it to the second level at times. At the next level, he will need to clean up his hand placement and keep his pad levels down. With proper coaching, he can fix those two issues.
At the next level, Jawaan Taylor will find himself quickly filling a starting role. Certainly best suited to stay at right tackle, Taylor will boost any run game and quickly increase his level of play in pass protection. Furthermore, his ability to contribute early and a professional attitude will have him hear his name called in the first round of the draft. His ceiling is high as he has the ability to develop into a Pro-Bowl player.
Though he may not warrant a top five pick, he will receive some attention leading up to the draft. If the Buccaneers trade back and Taylor is still on the board, he would be hard to pass up.