Defensive tackle Taven Bryan is the only Florida player considered a potential first-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, and he definitely helped himself with his workout Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Bryan measured in at 6 feet 4 and 291 pounds, and turned in impressive performances in the 40-yard dash (4.98 seconds), the vertical jump (35 inches) and the broad jump (9 feet 11). He also did 30 reps on the bench press.
Bryan “put on one of the most impressive performances that we’ve seen at the combine from a big-bodied defensive tackle,” NFL.com draft analyst Bucky Brooks said in calling Bryan one of the combine’s “winners” on Sunday.
Brooks also was impressed by Bryan’s performances in some of the on-field drills, which he said “confirmed his status as an elite athlete.”
“Considering how teams covet ultra-athletic defensive tackles with active hands and dynamic movement skills, Bryan is quickly climbing the charts as a potential first-rounder,” Brooks said.
During the NFL Network’s coverage of the combine, NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock said the buzz surrounding Bryan was that he had the movement skills of Fletcher Cox and J.J. Watt, and after Bryan was clocked at 4.98 seconds in the 40, Mayock said, “There you go. That’s what I was looking for.”
Mayock had said in a pre-combine teleconference that he thought four defensive linemen would go in the first round of the draft and that Bryan was one of the four. If Bryan does go in the first round, it would mark the sixth consecutive year and the 11th time in 12 years that Florida had a first-rounder.
Bryan is a lock to become the seventh Florida defensive tackle drafted in as many years.
Bryan, from Casper, Wyo., was nicknamed “The Wyoming Wild Man” because of his frenetic ways when he arrived at UF as part of Will Muschamp’s 2014 recruiting class. But he didn’t really live up to the nickname until 2017, his junior season. He became a starter in 2017, and was dominant at times. He had 40 tackles, four sacks and six tackles for loss, flashing impressive quickness and big-time strength. His play suffered at times because he became worn down because of Florida’s lack of depth at the position.
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