What to expect for Florida DT Taven Bryan in NFL draft

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As expected, Florida’s resident “Wyoming Wild Man” announced Monday that he will ride off into … the NFL draft.

Redshirt junior defensive tackle Taven Bryan said the hiring of new Gators coach Dan Mullen gave him something to think about before reaching his decision, but all along he was expected to cash in on what should be a high draft grade.

Bryan has drawn comparisons to Houston Texans star J.J. Watt for his combination of size, overpowering strength and capable speed, and he showed enough this fall in his first season as a full-time starter at Florida that should entice NFL teams in need of difference-makers on the defensive line.

Bryan finished with 40 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 4 sacks and 3 quarterback hurries, but as usual with the interior line positions, his value was not purely measured in numbers. His ability to collapse the pocket and be a disruptive force up front set up plays for teammates as well.

Bryan was considered to be the Gators’ strongest player, a weight-room legend with an ideal NFL physique who finally channeled the consistent focus to deliver consistent results on the field.

So the latest Gators Mailbag Question of the Day looks at where Bryan goes from here:

What is Taven Bryan’s draft stock now that he’s declared he’s leaving Florida?

It’s high and should only get higher after he goes through the NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 27-March 5) and his pro day at Florida.

Every year, prospects significantly boost their draft stock after letting their raw athleticism shine in the combine testing, and Bryan is a prime candidate to do the same. His Florida teammates talked about his weight-room prowess as if they were speaking of a modern-day Paul Bunyan-type character. His strength should catch scouts’ eyes, and his 40-yard dash time could rank well among fellow defensive tackle prospects.

As for the rankings and draft forecasts online …

CBSSports’ Chris Trapasso ranks Bryan as the 20th best prospect in the draft while noting his skill set could be useful in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes.

And Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com wrote, “In reaching out to scouts at NFL teams, multiple sources say they believe that Bryan will be a first- or second-round pick. … Teams believe that Bryan has the flexibility to be a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense or play five-technique defensive end in a 3-4. If he impresses in the pre-draft workouts as expected, Bryan could easily end up being a Thursday night selection next April.”

Meanwhile, Albert Breer’s Sports Illustrated mock draft and the latest Bleacher Report projection did not have Bryan in the first round, while some other earlier mock drafts did have Bryan slotted as a first-round pick.

It’s mostly guesswork at this stage in the process, but expect Bryan to appear on more and more mock drafts in the coming months.

He made the right decision to leave Florida and forgo his final season of eligibility.

Read more answers about the Florida Gators here.

The post What to expect for Florida DT Taven Bryan in NFL draft appeared first on SEC Country.

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