Jawaan Taylor

NFL Draft Rumors: Taylor, Ford, Sweat

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor met with the Bengals on Tuesday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Taylor, who stands 6’5″ and 328 pounds, certainly has the size requirements favored by new Cincinnati offensive line coach Jim Turner, but it’s unclear if the ex-Gator will be available when the Bengals make their first-round selection at No. 11. Along with Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), and Cody Ford (Oklahoma), Taylor is considered one of the best tackle prospects available in the 2019 draft. If selected by the Bengals, Taylor could immediately take over at right tackle, displacing the recently re-signed Bobby Hart, and would be a long-term option to replace Cordy Glenn on the blindside.

Here’s more on the 2019 NFL draft:

  • Speaking of Ford, the Oklahoma offensive lineman has been extremely busy during the pre-draft season. Per Aaron Wilson the Houston Chronicle, Ford has met with and/or worked out for the Patriots, Eagles, Buccaneers, Vikings, Texans, Cardinals, and Falcons. That’s in addition to his previously-reported stops with the Bengals and Panthers. Ford was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2018 and helped Oklahoma win the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s best offensive line. A left guard in both 2016 and 2017, Ford shifted to right tackle for the 2018 campaign.
  • The Texans are meeting with Mississippi State edge rusher Montez Sweat on Wednesday, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Sweat is considered of the best defensive ends in the draft (especially after blowing up the combine), so Houston would likely need to trade up from No. 23 overall in order to land him. After starting his collegiate career at Michigan State, Sweat spent two years with the Bulldogs, racking up 22.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss during that time.
  • Washington cornerback Byron Murphy has met with the Panthers, Chiefs, and Cardinals in addition to his visit with the Steelers, tweets Wilson. In 2018, Murphy earned a spot on the first-team All-Pac-12 list after putting up 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 interceptions. Regarded as a first-round pick by most observers, Murphy is the No. 6 overall player on Pro Football Focus’ draft board after allowing only a 47.7% completion percentage against and forcing 17 incompletions.
  • The Rams hosted Mississippi State safety Johnathan Abram on Tuesday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link). Abram, who has also met with the Cowboys and Cardinals, is part of a closely-clustered safety class that could start coming off the board at the end of the first round. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, notably, ranks Abram as the No. 1 safety prospect of 2019. Arbam posted two interceptions, three sacks, and nine tackles for loss last year.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Draft Rumors: Giants, Gary, Allen, Bills

The Giants‘ meeting with Kyler Murray got all of the headlines, but the Oklahoma quarterback wasn’t the only big-name prospect to get face time with the club on Thursday. The Giants also hosted Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary and Kentucky pass-rusher Josh Allen, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears.

At this rate, it would be a surprise if Murray is available for either of the Giants’ first-round picks at No. 6 and No. 17. However, Gary and Allen could be in range for a team that is said to be prioritizing pass-rushing. Allen would represent the safer bet based on his college production, but that also means that he could be gone by the time the Giants take the podium. Gary, who boasts serious raw skills, should last a bit longer after tallying just 3.5 sacks last season.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor will visit the Panthers on Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Taylor, a 6’5″ lineman, could project as either a right tackle or guard at the next level, which could be helpful for a team that has overhauled its O-Line this offseason.
  • The Bills are set to meet with Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, as Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Unfortunately for Buffalo, Williams is unlikely to be around at No. 9 overall, so they’ll probably have to trade up in order to land him. Recently, Williams met with New York’s other two teams.
  • The Bears will huddle up with Alabama running back Josh Jacobs, the team announced. Jacobs is widely rated as the best three-down back in this year’s class, but he does not offer the same kind of upside as last year’s top-drafted RB Saquon Barkley. Still, the Bears will have to get creative if they want to land Jacobs – Thanks to the Khalil Mack trade and last year’s move up for wide receiver Anthony Miller, the Bears won’t be on the board until the third round (No. 87 overall).
  • The Bills hosted an interesting mid-round prospect in Buffalo QB Tyree Jackson (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). Jackson could be a natural fit for the Bills as his size and athleticism mirrors that of QB Josh Allen.

Draft Rumors: Quinnen, Taylor, Jacobs

Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is meeting with the Cardinals today, and is scheduled to sit down with the Jets and Giants in two weeks, according to Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones of NFL.com (Twitter links). While most observers believe Arizona will ultimately use the No. 1 overall selection on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Rapoport indicates both Williams and Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa are still in consideration for the top pick. The Jets and Giants present more realistic landing spots for Williams, who is viewed as the best interior prospect available. He’s also met with the Raiders and 49ers, each of whom hold top-five picks.

Here’s more on the draft:

  • The Falcons are working out Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor on Thursday, tweets Rapoport. Along with Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Taylor is considered one of the top tackle prospects on the board in 2019. Taylor, who didn’t work out at the combine due to injury, has also met with the Jaguars. Atlanta, for their part, released right tackle Ryan Schraeder earlier this year and extended Ty Sambrailo, who figures to enter the season as the Falcons’ starter on the right side. Taylor would be a luxury choice for Atlanta, who hold the 14th overall selection.
  • Alabama running back Josh Jacobs visited the Ravens today, reports Josh Norris of Rotoworld (Twitter link). Viewed as the best running back available in the draft, Jacobs could be on the board when Baltimore picks late in the first round. While Jacobs isn’t an elite athlete, he’s considered a true three-down back who could help immediately. The Ravens, of course, signed veteran Mark Ingram to pair with Gus Edwards, so running back isn’t necessarily their most obvious area of need.
  • The Rams hosted Florida edge rusher Jachai Polite on Wednesday, tweets Norris. The pre-draft process has not been kind to Polite, who had been viewed as a potential first-round selection. Polite performed poorly during athletic testing, while his interviews with clubs were also widely panned. Additionally, Polite is battling currently battling through hamstring injuries. Los Angeles re-signed pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. and also added Clay Matthews, but given that a club can never have too many defensive ends/linebackers, Polite could be in consideration.
  • Kansas State offensive tackle Dalton Risner met with the Broncos on Thursday, per Norris (Twitter link). Denver invested a 2017 first-round pick in Garett Bolles and made Ja’Wuan James the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle this offseason, but Risner could slide to guard if selected by the Broncos. Indeed, Lance Zierlein of NFL.com’s best comparison for Risner is Bears interior lineman Cody Whitehair.
  • The Seahawks will visit with Arizona State wide receiver N’Keal Harry before the draft, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. Harry (6’4″, 213) managed at least 70 receptions, 1,200 yards, and eight touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He should be available when Seattle makes its first-round pick at No. 21, and could reinforce a Seahawks receiving corps that already includes Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin.

Draft Rumors: Allen, Sweat, Lawrence, Oliver

Lions general manager Bob Quinn is a Bill Belichick disciple, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he’s open to trading down from No. 8 in the first round of the 2019 draft. “I always like draft picks, so if we could move back a little bit, a couple spots, and pick up another pick, I think this is a really good, the depth of this draft from the late first to the third, there’s a lot of really good players in there,” Quinn told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). “If I could ever move back a few spots, get a really good player in the first round and add another pick, I think that’s something that would be great. People out there listening, I’m open for business.” Detroit owns nine total picks but possesses only the 15th-most overall draft capital.

Here’s more on the upcoming draft:

  • Kentucky edge rusher Josh Allen is a busy man. In addition to planned visits with the 49ers, Jets, Raiders, Giants and Lions, Allen will also meet with the Bengals, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Bills, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Allen spent four years with the Wildcats, totaling 31.5 sacks in the process (17 of which came during his senior season). Viewed as the 2019 draft’s second-best pass rusher behind Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Allen has been popularly mocked to New York at No. 3 and Oakland at No. 4.
  • The Buccaneers are looking for help along their defensive line while holding the No. 5 overall selection in this month’s draft, and they’ve met with several top-end prospects this week. Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat met with Tampa on Monday, while defensive tackles Ed Oliver (Houston) and Dexter Lawrence (Clemson) are sitting down with the Bucs today, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). Sweat and Oliver are in legitimate consideration to come off the board at No. 5, while Lawrence could be in play for Tampa Bay’s second-round pick (although he’d be a curious fit given the Buccaneers drafted fellow nose tackle Vita Vea 12th overall in 2018). Auburn cornerback prospect Jamel Dean also visited with Tampa Bay this week, per Rapoport.
  • Sweat also met with the Jaguars this week, adds Rapoport, as did Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor, reports Schefter (Twitter link). Both players could be available for Jacksonville at No. 7 in the first round, although Taylor would probably fill more of a need area. The Jaguars released starting right tackle Jermey Parnell earlier this offseason, so Taylor could immediately step opposite blindside protector Cam Robinson.
  • Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson recently met with both the Lions and Dolphins, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. Teams are interested in Jackson primarily due to his “rare physical traits,” per Pelissero, and the three-year starter certainly offers intriguing size at 6’7″, 245 pounds. Detroit could be searching for a developmental passer to play behind Matthew Stafford, while Miami simply needs warm bodies under center.

Draft Notes: QBs, Williams, Bryant, Taylor

Although Kyler Murray placing himself into this year’s draft-eligible quarterback crop increased the buzz surrounding it, the 2019 class has not brought the intrigue 2018’s did. Murray and Dwayne Haskins enter the Combine as the top QBs, and Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com rates the Heisman Trophy winner over the more traditional prospect. However, Jeremiah said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com) neither Murray nor Haskins would have ranked among the top-three quarterback prospects in last year’s draft. The longtime draft analyst would place Murray alongside Josh Allen and Haskins in between those two and Lamar Jackson, if all seven players were in one draft. With a 2020 draft group expected to be better than 2019’s, teams will have to weigh risks that come with selecting a passer in this year’s prospect pool.

Here is the latest from the draft world:

  • A member of the stacked Clemson defensive line that is set to populate draft boards, Austin Bryant will not be participating to the degree his ex-Tiger teammates will in Indianapolis. Bryant underwent surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (on Twitter), and will not do drills at the Combine. This injury happened Nov. 3, but Bryant played through it, recording 8.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a senior, and did not go under the knife until Jan. 17.
  • First-round tackle prospect Jawaan Taylor will not do any drills at this year’s Combine. The former Florida standout sent a letter to NFL teams informing them a mild hamstring strain will take him out of action in Indianapolis, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). This will likely be resolved by Taylor’s forthcoming pro day.
  • One of the top tackles in this year’s class, Jonah Williams is viewed by some teams a high-end guard prospect. The Alabama product’s future appears to be inside or at right tackle, with scouts informing Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News the acclaimed blocker could be an All-Pro guard or a quality right tackle. While teams still prioritize the left tackle spot, the gap between the offensive line’s glamour position and the rest of the roles is not what it once was. Quenton Nelson, Brandon Scherff and Lane Johnson have emerged as top-six draft picks-turned-Pro Bowlers that were shuttled to non-left tackle positions, with Scherff moving inside at his NFL career’s outset. Williams played both right and left tackle at Alabama, moving to the left side after his freshman year.