The Jacksonville Jaguars are rich in defensive linemen. They will probably cut one or two legitimate starters if they were available on waivers after the preseason. And first round draft pick Taven Bryan is the latest to be added to what amounts to the most talent-rich position group on the team.
Speaking to the media after Day 10 of OTAs, Doug Marrone was asked about Bryan through the first few weeks of offseason practices and Marrone was cautious but effusive in his praise.
“I like his demeanor, meaning that he is — for lack of a better term — a lunch-pail type guy. He comes in, and he works extremely hard. I think I have been very impressed that even though we’re not in the contact of what we’re doing, he has shown very good strength. From that standpoint, I’m excited to see him when we put the pads on. The hardest thing for me during this time is to really judge the offensive and defensive linemen because we do not have shoulder pads on, and we aren’t able to engage in blocks and finish blocks and do things of that nature. You don’t really see that physicality, which is probably the biggest part obviously of their game. What you do see is, can they stay on their feet? Can they move? Can they put themselves in position to make the block? That’s what we try to get accomplished in this phase of what we do football-wise.”
“I think what we saw on film when he came out of college is that he does have a really good first step; good initial quickness. For me, it’s always hard to judge when you watch players in college. It was the same way when I was in college and watched players in high school. It’s hard to judge the strength level. Like I said before, there are so many big men in our league. There is so much strength and power on the line of scrimmage. I’m not taking away from anyone that plays behind the line of scrimmage, but it is leverage and moving people and those types of things. That is a difficult thing to judge. The only way to judge it is to make sure you actually see them do it.”
Bryan will probably move around the defensive line early in his rookie season, but look for defensive end to be where he ultimately settles.
Making the transition to defensive end shouldn’t be too difficult for Bryan, who relied a lot on his athleticism in college to beat interior lineman to disrupt in the backfield. Bryan has the body type and athleticism to fit as a right end at the NFL level much like Calais Campbell did early in his career.