Taven Bryan, DL
School: Florida | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-5 / 293 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Cameron Heyward
Taven Bryan was just a 3-star recruit coming out of Casper, Wyoming but had his fair share of offers to play football. Bryan decided to make the long trip to attend the University of Florida where he was recruited as a strongside defensive end. Though Bryan primarily played DT he also played all over the defensive line while at Florida and projects to be a scheme versatile player in the NFL. Bryan plays with great power and effort. He can split defenders as an interior rusher with his quick burst and often disrupts the flow of the play. Bryan is routinely double teamed and while his personal effectiveness on the play is diminished the constant demand for two opponents on him free’s up opportunities for his teammates. Bryan has great size, strength, and power for the position and while he can get into the backfield he needs to play with better vision awareness and instincts. Bryan can get so preoccupied with getting deep into the backfield that plays go right past him. Bryan also has some work to do on run defense in the form of getting off blocks to make tackles, this would make him a better more well-rounded defender. Bryan’s physical and pass rush skills make him a high upside prospect on the defensive line and with a year of solid coaching, he should develop into one of the better linemen on a team.
- Good size, power, and athleticism for the position. Will have to kick out to DE in the NFL but should serve as an option to rush the interior on 3rd downs and other situations.
- Explodes into opponents and has the power to collapse the pocket. Has a decent rip move that can get him free of blocks. Routinely took on double teams which shows you that teams had to plan for him.
- Athleticism is obvious when looking at his initial burst and ability to “get skinny” between the gaps. Impressive ability to turn the edge for a guy his size and he has excellent closing speed to finish plays in the backfield.
- Good pursuit ability and effort on each play.
- In my opinion, still very much a traits prospect, will need his share of coaching to put it all together.
- Plays too upright and can lose the leverage battle. This is most evident on interior run plays where he is often combo blocked and can get easily rerouted.
- Often too concerned with getting penetration than attacking with any real strategy based on play development. Will bull rush a lineman straight past the QB or RB and fail to make a play. Overall awareness needs work.
- Not sold on his instincts yet fooled on a lot of play action read-option plays.
Let’s see his work:
Taven Bryan plays a little high, but his hand usage has been really strong so far pic.twitter.com/ckvSuXEquM— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 2, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Compared to the draft classes of the past few years this year’s DL group comes up short on top end talent by comparison. It seems like a lot of the top guys at the position are experiencing a boost because of their physical and athletic traits rather than production and fundamental skills. I would put Bryan in this category. Bryan certainly has the physical and athletic traits of a first rounder but he lacks the correlation in production. He’s raw in his fundamentals and with his ability to chain moves and put things all together. Most concerning is rabid dog approach to attack without any real plan like a dog chasing cars (insert Heath Ledger Joker quote here). While it's disruptive it's not very efficient.
That said I’m not sure of the ability of an NFL coach to refine instincts so Bryan may always be a player than chooses the wrong gap or bites on a play. That doesn’t mean that he still can’t be a highly productive player if his other weaknesses are refined. Bryan will have to learn how to play lower and win more leverage battles he’ll also need better vision and awareness on both run and pass plays. If he can improve in those two areas with his burst and ability to collapse the pocket he will be a solid starter in the league for many years. What will push Bryan over the top as a player is continued development in his football IQ and plan of attack as well as developing and chaining together a more diverse set of pass rush moves. I’ve seen Bryan mocked in the 1st round of the draft and while that is too rich for him, in my opinion, I think because of his raw skills and the depth at other positions he may be available at the Redskins 2nd round pick. At that value, I think he is great prospect and value considering his ceiling for a coach like Jim Tomsula to work with.