It’s pretty wide open as to who the Bucs will take with their first pick this year, as the team could afford to add talent anywhere to their defense or along their o-line. Bruce Arians stated yesterday that he views 6 players to be a cut above the rest in this draft, and there are probably a dozen players or so who the team could justify taking. But right guard likely still is the weakest spot on the roster, and this is why an option who could surprise but shouldn’t, is Florida’s Jawaan Taylor who likely would be able to step in right away at that position.
There are a few reasons that make Taylor potentially one of Arians big 6, the first being that he is a physical specimen. An absolute mountain of a man, Taylor stands an indisputable 6’5″ with 35″ trees for arms and carries his 325lbs playing weight very well. But it’s not only Taylors size that makes him intriguing, it’s also that he moves like someone much smaller. While he didn’t get the opportunity to test at the combine or his Pro Day due to a nagging groin injury, Taylor was able to show his movement ability in the drills and there are no doubts that he’s a great mover for his size from the tape. It’s this movement that makes Jawaan such a great kick slider, and one of the reasons why he only gave up one sack all of last year.
But not only is Taylor physically impressive, he’s also not just a guy who gets by on his physical talent alone. He may not be the technician that Jonah Williams is, but Jawaan is a smart blocker who knows how to use his hands and length to shut opponents down- the old adage of once he gets his hands on you it’s over, applies well. Jawaan also has the nasty demeanor you want from an olineman, and not only can block, but likes to beat up his opponents on the field and enjoys finishing until the whistle. And lastly Taylor brings experience, as this is a lineman who played right tackle in the battleground of the Southeaster Conference where he faced the top defensive units (Alabama, LSU…) and lineman (Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, Brian Burns…) in the country week in and week out. To summarize, this is not a player who will need a major adjustment to the skill, speed, and physicality of NFL lineman.
At the end of the day, it might not be the sexy pick, but it’s a pick that would make sense. It makes sense in immediate terms as Taylor should be able to plug in right away at right guard and be a massive upgrade at the Bucs weakest position. His presence there should help the team finally be able to run the ball, which in turn will make things easier for former first overall pick Jameis Winston as well as new head coach Bruce Arians. But not only does he help right away, he also makes sense down the line where Jawaan should be able to eventually take over for 34 year old Demar Dotson at right tackle combining with Donovan Smith to give the Bucs two absolute bears at their olines bookends for years to come.