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Take Two: Taven Bryan is raw and talented, but is he a first-rounder?

Taven Bryan tackles South Carolina QB Jake Bentley.
Taven Bryan tackles South Carolina QB Jake Bentley. (AP Images)

Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the network of team sites.


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Taven Bryan’s dad is a former Navy SEAL. The former Florida defensive lineman has drawn comparisons to J.J. Watt or Derek Wolfe of the Denver Broncos. He had solid numbers across the board at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But is Bryan elite at playing football?

That is the debate going on across the NFL right now, and whether Bryan is a first-round draft pick later this month. He has the pedigree, and the comparisons are off the charts, but he also only finished with 37 tackles (six for loss) and four sacks this past season in Florida’s defense.

There are no questions about his strength and his toughness and his performance at the combine was impressive, but his instincts have been an issue and his stats are not all that eye-popping. Bryan’s versatility to play across the defensive line could be a huge asset that solidifies him in the first round.

After Washington’s Vita Vea and Alabama’s Da’Ron Payne, it’s wide open at defensive tackle in regards to which player can move into that next spot. Bryan is right there, and a lot of analysts like him in the first round.

With Bryan’s background and athletic ability, is the Florida defensive lineman worth a first-round pick? Or, because he’s still developing as a player, is that too risky?


“He has the potential to be special. He’s a little raw right now. But going back, J.J. Watt wasn’t a huge commodity coming out of Wisconsin. He worked his tail off and became a dominating player. Taven has the physical tools and ability to become a dominant player at the next level. His athleticism and quickness are off the charts, and he tested very well at the combine.

"I’d like to see his instincts improve. At times, he got so wrapped up in rushing the passer that the play would go right by him. He will be good no matter what because he’s got the talent, but if he wants to be elite like Watt, he has to improve on his awareness and get a better feel for the game.

"If he devotes everything he has into becoming the absolute best he can be, I absolutely think he can become a great pass rusher in the NFL.”


“I don’t see any of the Watt comparisons. Everyone talks about him because his dad is a Navy SEAL and he’s a very athletic kid, but he didn’t kill the combine and a lot of people thought he would kill the combine. I’m not sold.

"I don’t think he’s a first-round talent, but I know some people have him going late in the first round and I actually have the Patriots taking him at No. 31.

“He’s a second- or third-rounder and he has the potential to be a really good football player, but he doesn’t have the natural instincts to be a great football player.”