2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Taven Bryan

  • Taven Bryan, 6-5/291

  • Defensive Tackle

  • Florida

  • Taven Bryan Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Excellent athlete
  • Fast at the point of attack
  • Has the ability to be an interior pass-rusher
  • Closes on quarterbacks in a hurry
  • Disruptive
  • Strong hands
  • Quick feet
  • Excellent get-off
  • Rare athletic skill set
  • Strong at the point of attack
  • Agile
  • Can bull through offensive linemen
  • Quality run defender
  • Can play a variety of techniques in a 4-3 or a 3-4
  • Carries weight well
  • Upside

  • Weaknesses:
  • Not instinctive
  • Lacks pass-rushing moves
  • Inconsistent
  • Lacks feel
  • Late start in football
  • Raw
  • May need a year or two of development
  • Short arms (32.75)

  • Summary: Bryan was one of the players who broke out in 2017. Despite a disappointing season for Florida, Bryan was one of the few bright spots, totaling 40 tackles with six tackles for a loss and four sacks across 11 games. It was a huge increase from his previous two years. As a freshman backup, Bryan notched 10 tackles with .5 sacks. In 2016, he totaled 17 tackles with one sack as a rotational player. Considering Bryan’s excellent skill set, the lack of playing time in the early going of his college career is indicative of his late start in football and needing development. In November, WalterFootball.com was first to report that Bryan planned on skipping his final season of college eligibility to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

    At the NFL Scouting Combine, Bryan put together an impressive workout, as expected. He illustrated his speed, explosion, strength and athleticism. Bryan recorded an excellent 40-yard dash time of 4.98 seconds alongside good numbers in the vertical jump, broad jump and 3-cone drill.

    Bryan has strength at the point of attack and posssess a thick build to hold his ground and defend the run. His technique needs refinement, but the physical tools are there for him to be a good run defender in the NFL.

    Bryan is at his best using his speed to fire a gap and achieve penetration into the backfield. He can cause a lot of disruption behind the line of scrimmage, allowing him to blow up runs in the backfield or put heat on the quarterback. Bryan’s speed to fire by guards is a real mismatch for interior blockers. Bryan has a tremendous get-off with serious explosion off the snap. He also has developed strength with active hands to shed blocks or power through them.

    Bryan had a late start in football from growing up Wyoming, and that shows up in him not demonstrating good instincts. He is inconsistent while lacking feel and pass-rushing moves. One of the big projects for his NFL defensive line coach will be teaching Bryan some moves in the pass rush as he is too dependent on only speed or power.

    Thus even though Bryan is a first-round athlete, he still needs development as a player. That could translate to him not doing much in his first year or two in the NFL. If that is the case, it will be incumbent on Bryan to keep working through the growing pains, plus his NFL franchise is going to need to exercise some patience with a long-term view of him becoming a player for them in Years 3, 4, and beyond. In a league that has a lot of turnover on coaching staffs, front offices, and the roster, there isn’t always a lot of patience for player development, so that is a risk with drafting Bryan and seeing a good return for that early-round selection. A team could give up on him too fast and not get the value it should for the pick.

    With his skill set, Bryan fits as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. In that scheme, he can use his speed, explosion and power to create disruption in the backfield. For a 4-3, he also has the versatility to be a power left end on run downs. Bryan would be a perfect fit as a five-technique end in a 3-4.

    Bryan should be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, and his combine workout should help to clinch his spot on Thursday night. Other draft media had Bryan getting down to the second or third round. In speaking with team sources, they say there is no way they think Bryan will get to the third round. They believe Bryan will go off the board in Round 1.

    Some announcers have compared Bryan to J.J. Watt, and in terms of style of play Bryan is reminiscent of Watt when making big plays, but Bryan was not consistently dominant to deserve a comparison to Watt. Bryan hasn’t shown the instincts and feel that Watt does on a down-by-down basis, or even what Watt showed as a college player in Wisconsin. In speaking with some team scouting sources, Bryan has drawn comparisons to players like Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones and Denver Broncos defensive lineman Derek Wolfe.

    Player Comparison: Chris Jones. Bryan has a lot of similarities to Chris Jones. At Mississippi State, Jones flashed his impressive combination of size and speed, but wasn’t always consistently productive. That was the same for Bryan at Florida. Jones (6-6, 310) and Bryan are similarly sized to go along with surprising quickness and athleticism.

    NFL Matches: Tampa Bay, Washington, Arizona, Oakland, Los Angeles Chargers, Detroit, Buffalo, Atlanta, New Orleans and New England

    There are a lot of teams that could target Bryan in the 2018 NFL Draft. With his ability to fit any scheme and being an interior pass-rusher, he will be in high demand.

    Tampa Bay needs to improve its line play on both sides of the ball. Bryan could form a tough tandem for the Buccaneers next to Gerald McCoy. The Redskins need more talent in their front seven, and Bryan could give them a five-technique bookend across from Jonathan Allen. Arizona, meanwhile, missed Calais Campbell in 2017, so Bryan could be in play for the organization.

    The Raiders badly need more interior defensive line talent. Bryan could be a good fit for them. Staying in the AFC West, Bryan would make sense for the Chargers as they could use an upgrade over the declining Corey Luiget.

    The Lions need an interior pass-rusher to go with A’Shawn Robinson, and Bryan would be a great fit in Detroit. Buffalo could use an interior defender to replace Marcel Dareus, and Bryan would fit the Bills’ defensive scheme well. Atlanta also could use more interior defensive line talent, and he would be a nice value for the Falcons’ first-round pick. In speaking to sources with the Falcons, they like Bryan. Staying in the NFC South, Bryan could give the Saints a replacement for Nick Fairley and a tackle to team up with Sheldon Rankins.

    At the end of the first round, Bryan could be a fit for the Patriots. They could use more interior defensive line talent and an improved pass rush.


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