The Jacksonville Jaguars added to an already stout defense by drafting Florida's Taven Bryan with the 29th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night.
Selecting Bryan had more to do with potential than production.
The defensive tackle had 67 tackles Deonte Thompson Jersey , including 5 陆 sacks, in three seasons with the Gators. He was a 6-foot-4, 291-pound enigma his first two years in Gainesville, but came on as a junior in 2017. He had 40 tackles last season, including six for loss and four sacks, while playing solely inside.
He really played well down the stretch, showing a quick first step and the ability to disrupt offenses. Although he never took over a game, he routinely demanded double teams on a defense that lacked depth and talent up front.
Jaguars top executive Tom Coughlin said Bryan has energy and enthusiasm to go along with play-making ability.
"He's powerful," Coughlin said. "He gets off on the snap. He can cause problems."
The Jaguars believe Bryan is just getting started, too.
He likely won't have to do much in his first season since the Jaguars are loaded up front. They have All-Pro defensive end Calais Campbell along with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Malik Jackson and Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Jacksonville ranked second in the league with 55 sacks in 2017.
"They're definitely good at what they do Jason Witten Jersey ," Bryan said. "I'll just try to come in and learn from them."
General manager Dave Caldwell said Bryan was the last of four players the team had identified as potential picks at No. 29. And they had no problem adding to the D-line.
"At that position, the more depth you have, the better off you'll be," Caldwell said.
Bryan admittedly took his football talent for granted early in his college career. He realized he was blessed physically, but he never thought much about it. He would casually talk about bench-pressing 450 pounds or squatting more than 600 pounds.
Teammates raved about his work ethic and weight-room feats.
So no one at Florida was surprised to see Bryan raise eyebrows at the NFL combine in March.
He covered the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds, one of five defensive tackles to break the 5-second mark, and benched-pressed 225 pounds 30 times. He topped all defensive tackles in the vertical jump (35 inches), the broad jump (9 feet, 11 inches), the three-cone drill (7.12 seconds) and the 20-yard shuttle (4.48 seconds).
Bryan grew up in Casper Chase Daniel Jersey , Wyoming, as the son of a Navy SEAL. Bryan often tagged along with his dad to build houses. When they weren't swinging hammers or pouring concrete, they were hunting, fishing and exploring mountain ranges and the high plains.
Football took over Bryan's life as a teenager, eventually turning him into a big-time recruit from the Cowboy State. He ended up 1,600 miles away in Gainesville. He didn't become a started until his junior year.
"You can understand why," Caldwell said. "He had a lot of talented players in front of."
Saquon Barkley got an incredulous look on his face when asked if he was hoping to play in the New York Giants' preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday.
Hoping was not an option as far as the second overall pick in the NFL draft was concerned. The halfback from Penn State wants to play, even though the Giants cut back his workload last week, leaving many to wonder if he was a little dinged after 10 days of training camp.
Coach Pat Shurmur put the injury speculation to rest when talking to the media on Monday. He said Barkley is physically fine and the team is just managing his workload.
It seemed odd, though Vernon Butler Jersey , on Saturday when the Giants didn't give Barkley a snap after limiting his carries a day earlier.
Shurmur downplayed it, saying the rookie has been getting plenty of work in drills not open to the media.
Barkley believes he is ready. He has worked hard, picked the brains of quarterback Eli Manning and veteran running back Jonathan Stewart, gotten to know his linemen and seems to have grasped the offense as well as can be expected for a newcomer.
Shurmur said the 21-year-old is making mistakes but learning from every one.
"Hoping? I plan to play," Barkley said Monday. "That's like I don't know; I haven't experienced an NFL preseason game yet, but I think that hoping would be like, I am hoping I am good to go for that game. I am more than capable to playing now. I am just happy inside to play in my first NFL game. Hopefully I can maximize every rep."
Barkley said he never had this much time to take care of his body in college. He noted that in his final season at Penn State he had to juggle training camp with taking finals from summer school classes.
Being hit for the first time in the NFL is something Barkley wants to happen.
"The first hit is something that knocks everything out, whereever your nerve is, you are overthinking stuff. It definitely helps."
Barkley isn't looking to gain a specific amount of yards or touchdowns. He wants to maximize every chance he gets and to have no missed assignments.
Manning said the best advice he has given Barkley is to take what the defense is giving on each play and realize you are not going to score on every play.
"Understand that expectations are going to be high, and don't worry about that Jeremiah George Jersey ," Manning said. "That's what you have a team for and you have a job to do. Take what they give you and when the opportunity comes and there is a hole and you get to the safety, that's your opportunity to make a guy miss and make something special happen."
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher said Barkley has been a good test for his defense.
"There's no question," he said. "I dealt with a guy of that nature and we've talked about it here at this stand before is (David Johnson), an Arizona guy that can split out and try to create mismatches, a guy that can run the ball extremely well between the tackles, and coordinators are going to have a fun time figuring out how they're going to get their matchups right."
Shurmur said he was still working on how much everyone will play Thursday at MetLife Stadium. He said he wants to see his whole roster since performance in games carries more weight than training camp in determining the 53-man roster.
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