(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Florida's Taven Bryan.)
- Name: Taven Bryan
- Position: Defensive Tackle
- Height/Weight:6-5 / 291
- Honors:Second-team All-SEC selection by the AP in 2017.
- Key Stat: Taven posted career highs across the board as a redshirt junior last season: 40 tackles (six for loss), 4 sacks, 3 quarterback pressures.
Where He's Projected:
Most draft observers believe Bryan is a likely first-round pick who could go off the board somewhere in the back half of the round – perhaps around the No. 19 range where the Cowboys are slotted. He didn't post big tackle or sack numbers at Florida, but observers believe his motor and athleticism can translate into a productive starting career at the next level.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Bryan's frame and skills as a penetrating, up-the-field rusher could translate well as a three-technique under-tackle in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's scheme. The question is whether the Cowboys would value addressing that position so early in the draft. Maliek Collins and David Irving, who currently remains a restricted free agent, have found success in that role, too. But Bryan is a more disruptive tackle than, say, a classic nose tackle – a spot where the Cowboys would likely avoid investing a first-round pick.
- Some power in his hands. Quick arm over move. Will use his hands to free himself.
- Can attack the gap. Can chase from the backside.
- Disruptive. Can draw holding calls. Can bend to the quarterback. Hard guy to work in front of.
- Outstanding body control and balance. Hard guy to fool.
- Plays outside the tackle box. Use him in twist game. Can get the corner when on the move. Aware to play the screen.
- Outstanding effort. Relentless in the way that he attacks the ball. Rare to see him give up on a play.