To give your skill players a better chance of producing and succeeding on every play, NFL teams need to have strong foundations in the trenches. Looking back at the 2017 season, the two areas that were of the most concern were the left guard position and the defensive tackle position, in particular the 1-techn role. Last year, those positions were respectively manned by Jonathan Cooper and Maliek Collins.
Dallas re-signed Joe Looney and signed Cameron Fleming and Marcus Martin in free agency. They may not be completely done with upgrades across the offensive line, but it is clear that the spot where the Cowboys are hurting the most comes at the defensive tackle position.
By adding a talented defensive tackle atop the draft, it could move the Cowboys closer to becoming an elite defense. There were bright spots in 2017 that showed a really talented future for this group. Drafting a stud defensive tackle could put them over the top and Florida’s Taven Bryan could be the answer Rod Marinelli and company needs.
What does Bryan do well?
At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Bryan is not the biggest defensive tackle, but he makes up it with his unique athleticism. Bryan shows the ability to play everywhere across the defensive line and the ability to stay on the field and be a menace on each play. He has an unbelievable motor to go along with quick movements.
Smaller defensive tackles have been having success in the NFL in recent years for their quickness and ability to shoot gaps and disrupt an offense’s backfield. He could be somewhat of a jack-of-all-trades type of player in the NFL, and Bryan has unbelievable quickness that will help chase down ball-carriers in the NFL.
With quick and powerful hands to go along with an array of pass-rushing moves, Bryan has the skills that are going to entice a lot of NFL coaching staffs. He was a star for the Gators in 2017 and once he gets more of a grip on the game and can work with professional coaching, Bryan is only going to become more of a nightmare for opposing offenses.
Here is a list of players who are comparable to Taven Bryan's athleticism and production. pic.twitter.com/2pjdusfDK2— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) April 5, 2018
What does Bryan struggle with?
Of course, there are the concerns about his size. With how he won at the collegiate level, he simply will need to change his ways to have NFL success. There are certain nuances about Bryan’s game that may have worked in college, but will have no success at the professional level.
On tape, there is somewhat of a tendency to get lost in the interior. His lack of power can lead to him getting pushed off the line of scrimmage and making it harder for the linebackers behind him to diagnose the play and bring down the ball-carrier. He can be confused on play-action plays.
He was a one-year wonder at college. In his first season as a starter, Bryan definitely got his name some buzz, but there are obviously the questions of if he can produce again. There is not a lot of game tape to go off of, but the combine performance will still give his draft stock some high consideration.
Pros of the Cowboys drafting him
By adding Bryan, the Cowboys can add a specimen to their defensive line. Dallas needs athleticism across the interior of their defensive line. By drafting Bryan, they can fill some holes in the rotation.
He is a guy that can do a variety of different things when asked. He can play inside or kick outside if needed. A third-down defensive line consisting of Demarcus Lawrence, David Irving, Tyrone Crawford, and Bryan would provide nightmares for offensive lines.
Cons of the Cowboys drafting him
The reality with Bryan is that it would take him awhile to effectively perform against NFL offensive lineman. Similar to how the Cowboys used Taco Charlton, they could potentially sprinkle Bryan in drive-by-drive to give him experience. However, he needs to put on more weight and he needs to show that his versatility can be used at the next level.
Drafting Bryan in the first round is most certainly a risk, just like most prospects after the top of the draft. But because his game is so raw, there are questions and it can be a real bad look for the coaching staff if he fails to make it a few years down the road.
Should the Cowboys use the 19th overall pick on Taven Bryan?
Would you draft Bryan? Tell us why you would or would not in the comments section.