Multiple Teams See Gators OT Jawaan Taylor as Top 2019 OL
Updated Dec. 6, 2018
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
Around the scouting community, the 2019 NFL Draft class is already well known to be a weak class on the offensive line. Leading up to and during the 2018 season, the consensus top offensive line prospect was Ole Miss left tackle Greg Little. However in speaking to team sources after the end of the regular season, multiple teams say they have Florida's Jawaan Taylor as the top offensive line prospect. They feel that Taylor will be the first blocker drafted and could go high in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Entering the 2018 season, some advance scouts had mentioned being intrigued with Taylor and were hoping that he would be more consistent as a junior. That came true during the regulars season, when Taylor was the Gators' best offensive lineman, and multiple team contacts say they are much higher on Taylor than Little. Team sources love Taylor's combination of size, movement skills, and strength. Sources feel that 6-foot-5, 340-pounder has an excellent skill set with upside to be a top tackle in the NFL.
Here's what one national scout texted me about Taylor, "I bet you Jawaan Taylor is the first tackle to go in the draft if he comes out. I haven't seen him hardly anywhere from the experts, haha." In speaking to a general manager of a team in need of tackle help, they said that Taylor was their top offensive tackle prospect as well.
In speaking to contacts in the Gators program, they tell me that they believe Taylor will probably declare for the 2019 NFL Draft. That is the word within the locker room right now, but sources with the Gators did not know for certain if Taylor would declare. He could return for his senior year and move to left tackle because current left tackle Martez Ivey is a senior.
Even though Taylor is a better player than Ivey, Taylor has started at right tackle for the Gators over the past two seasons, but that doesn't bother team sources. With the way NFL teams move their edge rushers around, left or right side is borderline irrelevant. "The blind side isn't what it used to be," said one area scout. "Lane Johnson is a right tackle that's paid like a left." Thus, wherever Taylor lands, he could shut down one side and the team could send extra help to the other tackle. Teams also feel that Taylor has the ability to play left or right tackle.
While it is still early in the 2019 NFL Draft process, entering the offseason portion, multiple NFL teams have Taylor as a their top-rated offensive lineman and think he could be a high first-round pick.