Jaguars draft pick Jawaan Taylor ready to get to work
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars may have gotten a steal in the second round as they traded up to grab Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor.
As odd as this might sound, the fact that Jawaan Taylor slipped into the second round of the NFL Draft might turn out to be the best thing for both the player and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The former Florida star, refuted reports that a knee injury could have been one of the reasons why he slipped to the No. 35 pick. It was also reported that the Jaguars try to trade back into the first round to grab the bag right tackle, but nothing materialized.
"Yes, the medical reports were definitely false,” he said. “I am 100 percent healthy and ready to go. It hurt me a little bit last night – you see what the reason was why I didn’t get picked. It is what it is. Now, I’m picked and I’m ready to go.”"
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When it was evident that he was there for the taking, the front office made a deal with the Oakland Raiders to trade up on the 38th spot. Now, the Jaguars got the player that they were once slotted to take in many mock drafts in the first round to begin with.
When Taylor talked to local media Friday evening by teleconference, he said the draft buzz about the potential injury bothered him. Could it be motivation enough to come in and plant himself as the teams right tackle for the foreseeable future?
"“I’m a little bit upset, but everything happens for a reason,” he said. “God has a plan for me, so it is what it is.”"
The Jaguars return four of their five starters from Week 1 of the NFL season last year. Taylor will be part of a group competing in camp to replace Jermey Parnell, who is released prior to the start of free agency.
Taylor also told the media he expects to come in and be the starter from Day 1.
"“It’s a great, great excitement. I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid. I’m only two hours away from home, so it’s a great big deal for me. I’m looking forward to coming in and competing right away,” he said."
The Jaguars offensive line blows from last season are well chronicled. Continuous injuries and ineffective blocking hurt the running game and lead to Jacksonville quarterbacks being sacked 53 times last season.
Taylor played on a Gators line they gave up a total of 18 sacks on the season. in 2018.
Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said the team wasn’t sure Taylor would be there when the team picked 38th in the second round and would be “long gone” before the team had a chance to take him.
Caldwell said Taylor will be in the mix to win the opening starting job at right tackle.