‘They’ve caused problems for everyone they’ve played,’ Smart says of Gators’ defense
Florida Gators offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor: A top-10 NFL Draft prospect?
ESPN’s Todd McShay certainly sees it that way. McShay unveiled his latest list of top 32 prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft, and Taylor checked in at No. 10 on the list and as the No. 2 offensive lineman behind Ole Miss’ Greg Little. Taylor is one of two UF players to make the list, joining defensive end/outside linebacker Jachai Polite, who is No. 25.
Taylor, a 6-5, 328 pound offensive lineman has played in all 32 games of his Florida Gators career with 30 starts. The Cocoa, Florida, native has primarily played right tackle for UF.
“He lacks length but shows quickness, often riding faster rushers past the quarterback if he’s able to get his hands on them,” McShay wrote. “Taylor still needs to work on his angles and play with better body control when coming to the second level, but there is pop in his game. He has the athletic ability to develop into a strong zone blocker.”
Polite, meanwhile, is in the midst of a breakout season as a junior. The 6-2, 242-pound defensive lineman has already set career highs in tackles (28), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (7) and forced fumbles (4). His four forced fumbles ranks tied for third nationally. His seven sacks are tied for 11th nationally and is third among Southeastern Conference players.
“Polite is a top-tier talent,” McShay wrote. “With fantastic speed and athleticism, he is a force off the edge. Polite is slippery and displays good instincts as a playmaker.”
As for players with South Florida ties:
▪ Defensive end Nick Bosa, a junior at Ohio State who attended St. Thomas Aquinas and is the younger brother of Los Angeles Chargers defensive lineman Joey Bosa, is McShay’s top prospect. “An elite talent [with elite bloodlines], Bosa isn’t just a gifted pass-rusher; he always knows where the ball is and is active against the run. He projects best as a 4-3 defensive end in the NFL but is scheme-versatile with his length and power,” McShay wrote.
▪ Cornerback DeAndre Baker, a senior at Georgia who attended Miami Northwestern, is No. 14 and described as “an instinctive corner” who “does a good job of reading receivers’ routes in man coverage and is excellent in dealing with route combinations.”
▪ Linebacker Devin Bush, a junior at Michigan who played his preps career at Flanagan High in Pembroke Pines, is No. 22, with McShay citing his “good instincts as a pass-rusher, displaying patience and good closing speed when he gets a line to the quarterback.”
▪ Defensive end Brian Burns, a junior at Florida State who played at Plantation American Heritage, checks in at No. 24.
▪ Wide receiver Marquise Brown, a junior at Oklahoma who starred at Chaminade-Madonna, is No. 26.