One of the least talked about storylines last season was the emergence of former second-round selection Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor.
Taylor, selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, was immediately trusted to hold down the right side of the team’s offensive line nearly the minute he stepped onto the gridiron. After 16 games, Taylow became the first Jaguars’ offensive rookie to play and start in all 16 games during his rookie season since offensive lineman Maurice Williams did the same in 2001.
In his first five games during the 2019 season, Taylor faced off against Pro Bowl pass rushers such as Frank Clark, J.J. Watt, Von Miller, and Cameron Jordan — a tough task for a rookie right tackle to take on.
Today, during a virtual video conference, Taylor reflected on last season, noting that he continues to work at his technique, even during the on-going pandemic and quarantine.
“All the things I needed to improve on, I’ve been working on that so far this offseason,” said Taylor. “Even though the virus and stuff is going on, I still am focusing on the certain things I need to get better at. I did go back and look at different things I did well. It was a good year for me, but I can also do a lot better and I’m looking forward to next season coming up.”
Going up against a guys like Miller and Jordan has left an impression on the young and talented offensive lineman. The two All-Pro pass rushers were the two toughest challenges he faced last season, Taylor said.
As one of his favorite pass rushers to face off against and even watch growing up, he has been able to learn plenty, and still talks to Miller from time to time.
“I talked to Von [Miller] after the game. He told me I would be a great player in this league for a long time. I still talk to Von to this day. He got me a lot better. It was different things I knew I needed to improve on once the game was over with once I went back and watched the film. They both definitely got me a lot better. Cam [Jordan] was a power rusher, a bull rusher, he is a swim move type of guy, but Von has a lot of different things he does to get to the quarterback.”
Taylor has already set several goals for the offseason, training to get stronger, and working on his technique as he moves forward. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor allowed eight sacks on the year, however only two during the team’s final 10 games, getting better as he progressed through the season.
“I want to get stronger. I feel like that is something I definitely need to improve on, getting my strength level up. I want to improve my hand placement in pass protection and I need to clean up penalties. Those main three things, I need to clean up the most.”
Surrendering 15 penalties during the year was an eye-opener stat for Taylor, one of the aspects of his game he says he “definitely” has to improve on.
“With holding penalties, making sure my hands are in the right place. That is something I have been working on a lot – hand placement and things like that,” said Taylor. “False starts is another focus. I feel I have to get better at that. That is just locking into the snap count, locking into the cadence and the quarterback in the huddle. I definitely have to improve on that.”
For now, Taylor is focused on improving himself to give the team his best as he prepares for the upcoming season, pandemic or not.
“Right now, we are all trying to find ways to get better.”