It’s only been eight games, but the Jacksonville Jaguars may have found their right tackle for the foreseeable future in Florida’s Jawaan Taylor.
Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor isn’t getting the buzz his rookie season as other teammates on the team’s roster. Realistically, that’s a good thing. How many offensive linemen in the NFL do you know that are making headlines every week? Playing in the trenches is a thankless job for most NFL players. Blocking premier pass rushers, stopping the interior line, opening lane for the run game and making sure the pass protection is better with each snap.
For rookies, the acclimation to the next level is tough. In most cases, defensive linemen are bigger, stronger and faster than the ones they faced in college. As Taylor, a second-round pick out of Florida grows in his NFL education, he is becoming part of the solution to making the Jaguars a bigger offensive threat running and throwing the football.
Taylor’s name is not on the most recent list of top 25 rookies in the league by NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah, but that does not mean he isn’t playing solid football. Gardner Minshew and Josh Allen are grabbing most of the headlines, and they should. Their positions are more high-profile. Minshew is ranked second amongst NFL rookies this season behind Nick Bosa of the 49ers. Allen is third overall.
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And if that wasn’t already exciting, third-round linebacker Quincy Williams, who played small college football, is 25th on Jeremiah’s list. Not bad for a player who many thought would be a free agent trying to find a job in May.
"“Williams was having an exceptional year up until a Week 5 meeting with Christian McCaffrey and Co. that did not end well for the rookie linebacker,” Jeremiah writes. “The Murray State product has missed time with a hamstring injury, but should continue making splash plays as a result of his incredible speed and range when he returns.”"
Still, no mention of Taylor.
"“I am settled in now. Of course, like my first five to six games, I was going against a lot of big-time players and stuff, and that definitely taught me a lot,” Taylor said via JaguarMaven. “But now I am just learning like to get into a routine and getting a regiment every single week and just try to stay consistent and get better.”"
Taylor plays a position that was part of the offensive destruction from last season when injuries obliterated the core of the unit. Once thought to be a first-round guarantee, he slipped to the second round and has found a home with the team originally slotted to select him with the No. 7 pick – the one the front office used on Allen.
So far, the relationship between the player and the team has worked well. And his success on the field is being praised by the coaching staff.
"“I’d equate Jawaan [Taylor] very similar to Gardner [Minshew II], getting better in each game. With the exception of a few plays here and there, obviously like any rookie o-lineman’s going to have,” offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said this past week.“And just through our schedule, Jawaan’s pulled some pretty decent pass rushers – not decent, really good pass rushers here through this first half of the season and he’s handled himself well. We were talking about our draft class the other day, and Jawaan’s just one of those guys that, again, you get better in this league as a player when you love football, you’re passionate about your job and you’re all about the team. And he has those three qualities and it’s not a shock he’s getting a lot better as we go.”"
That’s a great thing for Taylor and the Jaguars. The right tackle position has been a question mark for years with players moving in and out of the spot over the years. Hopefully, this is a fit that lasts a long time and sees Taylor become one of the best in the NFL.