Jaguars 2021 NFL Draft: CB Tay Gowan could be mid-round sleeper pick

UCF Knights defensive back Tay Gowan (23)Ucf Knights At Cincinnati Bearcats College Football Oct 4
UCF Knights defensive back Tay Gowan (23)Ucf Knights At Cincinnati Bearcats College Football Oct 4 /

The Jacksonville Jaguars, just like all other 31 NFL teams, are putting their final touches in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft. While they are leaning towards taking Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the top pick, it’s uncertain how they will use their other selections and whether UCF cornerback Tay Gowan figures in their plans.

Chris Roling of Bleacher Report sees Gowan as a sleeper pick and someone with plenty of upside. He points out that even though he didn’t play much in college, his 2019 campaign should solidify his draft stock. That year, the UCF standout appeared in 12 games and logged two interceptions and eight passes defended. Moreover, he posted an 80.1 Pro Football Focus coverage grade and gave up just 20 receptions on 50 targets.

Keep in mind Roling isn’t the only one who believes Gowan can turn into a solid pro. Michael Renner of PFF believes the Georgia native is “one of the smoothest and most productive tall corners in the draft”. The fact Gowan hardly barely took the field at Miami (Ohio) and opted out of the 2020 season affected his draft stock. However, if you use his 2019 tape as a reference, you will see a prospect that played at a high level.

Why the Jacksonville Jaguars should take a flyer on Tay Gowan?

The Jaguars don’t have a pressing need at cornerback after signing Shaquill Griffin and bringing back Sidney Jones and Tre Herndon this offseason. While there’s a chance at least one of the top cornerback prospects in the draft will be available when they’re on the clock at 25, they could address other position groups with that selection.

On the other hand, this Jacksonville team can’t neglect their cornerback room and needs to draft a developmental prospect. Gowan would be an enticing option in the third round that could turn into a solid starter down the road. Also, the UCF standout wouldn’t have to see the field right out of the gate, with sophomore C.J. Henderson and Griffin as the projected starters in Week 1, so he would have time to get acclimatize to the NFL and work on his craft.

The Jaguars’ brass is pleased with their cornerback group, but that shouldn’t deter them from adding talent in the draft. Gowan wouldn’t have an immediate impact but has the potential to become the difference-maker he was for the Golden Knights in 2019.

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