Gets depth in his drop to neutralize speed rushers
Doesn't have to reach for rushers
Bends at the knee
Quick to the second level
Good at hitting combo blocks
Known as a high-character individual
Experience against top competition
Could play left or right tackle
Tons of upside
Will have to stay on top of weight and conditioning
Raw; needs development
Gets sloppy and waist bends at times
Hand placement could be more consistent
Could have some growing pains
Summary: A few years ago, Martez Ivey was a superstar five-star recruit for Florida. Ivey was expected to be a standout left tackle with early-round potential for the NFL. However, Ivey ended up being a disappointment and much-less-heralded recruit Jawaan Taylor became the prospect who has NFL scouts very excited.
It almost never happened even though Taylor wanted to play for Florida, because the Gators resisted offering him a scholarship. With his weight around 380 pounds, the Gators told Taylor he had to drop 40 pounds before they would extend the offer. Taylor took on the challenge and dropped the weight to earn his scholarship to Florida. After losing the weight, he kept it off and worked his way into a starting role for the Gators. In 2018, Taylor did a nice job of protecting quarterback Feleipe Franks at right tackle and was very good at opening holes for the stable of Florida running backs.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, team sources said that Taylor showed that he needs some development from a mental side of things. He still has things to learn and is somewhat raw. Evaluators do feel that Taylor has the capacity to learn what he needs to know.
Taylor has a lot of unique qualities as a pass blocker. Despite being such a large offensive lineman, he is a really good athlete who has speed and shows the ability to bend at the knee. He has quick feet that he uses to mirror speed rushers, and his strength and length allow him to sustain blocks well to keep edge defenders from turning the corner. With his weight and strength, Taylor is able to anchor and hold up against bull rushes. While he played at right tackle for Florida, Taylor has the feet and athleticism to play on the left side if his NFL team wants to put him there.
In the ground game, Taylor has the potential to be a road-grader. He is strong with a thick frame. There are times when Taylor knocks defenders off the ball and opens up gaps for his back. He can generate movement in the ground game to supply some excellent lanes for his backs. Aside from being able to play power man, Taylor is quick to the second level and packs a punch when he gets there. Taylor shows nice awareness to hit combo blocks on defensive linemen and linebackers. With his athleticism and quickness, Taylor could be a fit in a zone-blocking scheme as well.
Taylor could use some developmental time in NFL because he is not consistent yet. He is raw and needs development. Sometimes, he can get sloppy and waist bend. He also could stand to improve his hand placement and not let his hands get too wide. As he ages, Taylor will also have to stay on top of his weight and conditioning. His pro team could have some growing pains if they immediately insert Taylor into the starting lineup, but he has a ton of upside with his excellent skill set. If he is developed well, Taylor could become a Pro Bowler during his rookie contract.
In the 2019 NFL Draft, some team sources believe that Taylor will be the first offensive lineman drafted and have him as their highest-graded tackle. Multiple sources think he will go as a top-10 pick. If he doesn't go in the top 10, he probably won't make it into the 20s.
Player Comparison: Morgan Moses. In speaking to team sources, they agree that Moses could be a quality comparison for Taylor, except that they feel that Taylor is a quicker and more athletic version. That explains why Taylor is a first-round talent and Moses went on Day 2. Still, Moses was a wise pick by the Redskins, as he is one of the better right tackles in the NFL. Moses (6-6, 335) and Taylor are almost identical in size while being well-balanced blockers who are assets in both phases.
NFL Matches: Arizona, New York Jets, Buffalo, Cleveland, Atlanta, Carolina, Philadelphia, Houston, Minnesota, Los Angeles Rams
There could be a lot of teams in the market for Taylor. After all, there are a lot of bad offensive lines in the NFL that need to add more talent at offensive tackle. Most of the teams that took quarterbacks in the first round last year could use a young left tackle to protect their quarterbacks.
Arizona has a terrible offensive line and needs to improve the blocking for Josh Rosen. If the Cardinals were to move down in the first round, Taylor could be an option.
In the AFC East, the Jets and Bills both have top-10 picks, and Taylor could improve the protection for either team's young quarterbacks. However, the Jets would give more consideration to Taylor if they trade down. The Bills could be a fit for Taylor, and they are maybe the highest he could hope to go.
In the NFC South, Atlanta could consider help on the offensive line despite signing some veterans. Taylor could interest the Falcons. Carolina needs a left tackle to replace Matt Kalil, and Taylor could be an upgrade for Cam Newton's edge protection.
Minnesota must get more talent to protect Kirk Cousins, so Taylor could be of interest to the Vikings. He probably won't get to their pick though.
Among the playoff teams, there are a few franchises that could consider trading up for Taylor. He probably won't get out of the first 20 picks and could go as a top-10 choice, but if he slides, playoff franchises like the Eagles and the Texans could move quickly to try to shore up their respective offensive lines. Jason Peters is nearing the end of his great career for Philadelphia, and the team could take Taylor to pair with Lane Johnson. Bill O'Brien has failed to develop a single quality offensive lineman for Houston during his 5-year run. The Texans badly need to improve their edge protection for Deshaun Watson. Both Philadelphia and Houston have extra picks in the second round to help make a move up.
The Rams could lose Andrew Whitworth to retirement next year, and that would open a big hole at left tackle. However given their lack of picks, the Rams are probably unlikely to move up in the first round and would have to move up significantly to land Taylor.