The Jacksonville Jaguars surprised everyone at the end of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, picking defensive tackle Taven Bryan when there was quarterback Lamar Jackson, offensive lineman Will Hernandez, and several tight ends still on the board.
Our first reaction (and I wasn’t immune) was a collective: “Huh?”
After all — the team is stacked on the defensive line. Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Abry Jones, Malik Jackson, Marcel Dareus, Dawuane Smoot, Dante Fowler, Eli Ankou, and Michael Bennett make up a hell of a position group.
But when you start to dig into Bryan’s measurements from the NFL Combine, you start to get a sense of why Tom Coughlin and Dave Caldwell were enamored with the guy.
Relative Athletic Scores take player measurements and put them on an easy to understand 0 to 10 scale compared to their position group. A final score is then produced which is also on a 0 to 10 score to show overall athleticism for a draft prospect. This data can be used to chart trends over time, showing that overall athleticism is likely a contributing factor to player success in the NFL.
They were created by Kent Lee Platte, who noted last night that not only is Bryan one of the most physically gifted defensive tackles (in terms of NFL Combine measurements) in the class, he stands out as one of the most physically gifted defensive tackles since 1987.
With the 29th pick in the #NFLDraft, the #Jaguars selected #TavenBryan.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 27, 2018
Bryan posted the 11th best #RAS of all DT since 1987 at the Combine, including elite marks at every single measurement except his weight, which was below average. pic.twitter.com/JFRqsriG78
He’s quick. He’s tall. He’s strong. He’s agile. The only thing he could get a little better at is his weight — but we’ll see how he plays at 291. It could be a benefit in defensive coordinator Todd Wash’s scheme.
See all of Platte’s grades for defensive tackles over the past decade here.