NFL teams take a pass on projected first-rounder Taylor of Florida

Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor poses for a photo on the NFL draft red carpet Thursday in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Doug Benc)

In one of the biggest surprises in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night in Nashville, Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor went undrafted and now will have to wait until tonight to hear his name called, likely in the second round.

Projected as a possible top-10 pick by many of the draft experts and analysts, Taylor mysteriously slipped all the way out of the first round.

Rated the No. 1 offensive tackle in the draft by many, Taylor had to sit there in Nashville and watch four other tackles get drafted while failing to hear his name called.

Heading into the draft, some were projecting that Taylor could be taken as high as the seventh pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But the Jaguars passed on filling one of their biggest needs, instead drafting Kentucky defensive end/outside linebacker Josh Allen. And the long, fruitless wait began for Taylor.

There was speculation late Thursday night, that Taylor was sliding badly because of a knee injury he recently sustained in workouts. But that was never confirmed.

Taylor, along with safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, is expected to be selected in the second round Friday. Defensive end/outside linebacker Jachai Polite also could hear his name called in the second or third round.

With Taylor falling out of the first round, it is the first time since 2012 that the Gators do not have a first-round pick.

He will get another chance to walk across the stage Friday night. Taylor plans to stay in Nashville for the second round of the draft, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Taylor is one of five players invited to the draft by the league not picked Thursday night: Drew Lock, Cody Ford, Greedy Williams and D.K. Metcalf.


  1. I’m always concerned when Jacksonville is going to select a gator in the first round. Nobody else had him going elsewhere in their mock draft. Just hope he doesn’t end up in in Jax or with the Raiders.

    There are so many poorly run organizations in the NFL now. It makes it easier for New England to not blow all their money on rookies and one or 2 super high priced players that rarely pull their weight. Nobody else has figured it out but New England always has the most picks between round 2-6. Other teams give away those picks to trade up for bigger busts in the 1st round who they can pay more.

  2. This is the first NFL draft that features McElwhiner recruits. I won’t be surprised if no Gators make the first round again next year and possibly the year after that, since those will be the drafts that will most prominently include McElwhiner recruits.

    The saving grace for Gators graduating or declaring for the draft after 2019 is that they’ll get 2 or 3 seasons to fully develop under a top notch strength & conditioning and coaching staff. Sadly for Taylor, he only got one year to develop in CDM’s program.

    • On the bright side, how about Mullen developing 3 first round picks at MSU? Only Saban and Swinney could match him in that category. Ole Kirby only had 1. Dawg fans love to dog him (no pun intended) on his recruiting. The proof is in the pudding. That’s definitely something he can use to convince future recruits to want to play for him.

    • There you have it folks. In sum, the current regime gets credit for anything positive. The ex’s gets the blame for everything negative. That’s the current narrative. Full of hate with little objectivity. Who gets credit for the first rounders in the past 3 years? Who will get the credit for the first rounders next year? I love you all nevertheless. Go Gators!

      • First rounders the last 3 years were ALL recruited by Muschamp. Say what you will about his inability to hire good assistant coaches, particularly on offense, Muschamp was outstanding at recruiting top notch talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

        McElwhiner, on the other hand, could neither recruit well nor hire good assistant coaches. His 2 5* recruits went nowhere and will be late-round picks this weekend. His S&C program was such a joke that some of his Gator players were training at private gyms!

        I can go on, but I’ve made my point. Thank the good Lord, McElwhiner is GONE!

      • Sly, should Mullen not get credit for the 3 first round picks out of MSU? The o-line was the biggest issue with the offense the entire time Mac was here. You think that might’ve contributed to Taylor’s fall from where he was projected? That big of a fall definitely doesn’t come strictly from a rumored knee injury, especially when a guy like Simmons tears his ACL a few months before the draft and still gets picked. Mac hasn’t produced a first round pick yet. Just because he was a coach when a player someone else recruited went in the first, doesn’t mean he deserves credit for it, just like Moorehead doesn’t get the credit for the 3 MSU players drafted. Guys like Bryan, Davis, Hargreaves, and Neal would’ve been drafted in the first rd no matter who the coach was. Muschamp got them here so he gets the credit. Funny thing is Bryan and his dad both bashed Mac on his way out just like everyone but you does. If and when one of his recruits gets drafted in the first rd, then he’ll get credit for it. By the way, with the exception of a few losses this past season, there’s really been nothing but positives coming from the new regime, so I’m not sure exactly what there is to be negative about with them at this point. The current narrative is spot on, so I’m not exactly sure what point you’re trying to make.

      • To be clear, there is no debate from me that Mullen and Savage are upgrades over their predecessors. However, to suggest and over generalize that Mac can’t coach, recruit, develop players, and hire competent assistants and blamed for everything negative is unfair, not objective, and rooted in hate. Sadly, that’s group think emanating from the hate forum communities.

        The consensus mock drafts, not just ESPN, had Jawann Taylor going 7th in the draft to the Jags. All those draft experts can’t be wrong, can they?

        ESPN pegged Taylor as the 10th best overall. Not sure where the other experts ranked him overall but I think it’s a safe bet that they considered him one of the best 32 overall based on where he stood on the consensus mock draft. Taylor is a first round talent. To blame Mac in hindsight because Taylor slid out of the first round is illogical. Taylor was recruited by Mac as a “lowly” 3-star prospect, and Mac arguable had a big impact in his development. He was a starter as a freshman under Mac and he graded out well for the most part at the time against more senior SEC competition. His development wasn’t solely under Mullen and Savage.

        It is unreasonable to give all the credit in recruiting to Muschamp and all the development to Mullen for all the success stories while blaming Mac for the negative stories. We can’t cherry pick data and have it both ways and still be considered objective.

        Torrian Gray was hired by both Mac and Mullen. Was he garbage when hired by Mac but now he is a great hire under Mullen?

        I love you all but I hate the hate.

        • Sly, hate’s a strong word. I don’t think anyone hates Mac. Most Gator fans just don’t think he was a good coach or did much to better the program. Taylor wasn’t picked in the first rd, so just because some “expert” pegged him as a first rounder, that doesn’t make him one. To think it was only a knee injury that made him drop when Simmons blew his knee out a couple months ago, doesn’t really make sense either. Hell Willis McGahee had one of the worst knee injuries I’ve ever seen and was still drafted in the first rd. There’s more to that unprecedented drop than is being reported. I personally don’t feel he would’ve even been considered a top 10 pick had Mac still been running the program. One only needs to compare the last 2 Michigan games to see the difference in how the line was playing under Mullen and Hevesy. Maybe go back and look at what some of Mac’s own players have said about him to understand the disdain that comes from the majority of Gator fans. The dislike for him didn’t just fall from the sky, there’s a pretty good reason for it, especially for a fan base that’s so passionate about the program. Ivey was actually a little more nice than most I’ve seen, but even he talks about how much better the culture is now in the article below. When his own players criticize him, it’s kind’ve hard to find anything positive to say about him. You like him and have positive stuff to say, that’s obvious, but the fans who don’t aren’t wrong for feeling that way.

        • Sly, let’s be clear about the hairs we’re splitting here. McElwhiner won 2 SEC East championships while Muschamp won none, but neither was EVER going to be a satisfactory HBCs at UF. The expectations here are simply too high.

          That said, Muschamp’s first 3 recruiting classes were far more talented and higher rated than McElwhiner’s and it’s not even close. So, McElwhiner inherited a talent level, particularly on defense, that CDM can only dream about now. So, it’s not surprising to me that the string of 1st round Gator selections came to an end 4 years after their string of Top 10 recruiting classes did.

          The challenge for CDM now is to make chicken salad out of the chicken excrement McElwhiner left behind, particularly along the OL, until his own recruits mature enough to be able to play in the SEC, which won’t be until the 2020 season, at least.

          If that sounds hateful, then I guess I’m a hater. I love my Gators, but I won’t lower my standards for anyone and I don’t care who’s “feelings” get hurt!

  3. in retrospect, the nfl may have promoted taylors name to get viewers. i would have cut the draft off much earlier if i hadnt been curious where taylor would land. gators are great for ratings and stories, the nfl knows that. im no mel kiper jr., but it seems to me, after all-time stinkers like michigan 2017, missouri 17 and 18, kentucky 18, parts of georgia games, those alabama sec championship games and others, i was surprised any gator offensive lineman was getting that kind of love. so now the world makes more sense to me at least.
    how does that affect next year is the most important question. the line we have coming are guys that couldnt beat this bunch out, so at best, we will be the same next year. thats 3 losses and a couple more close ones. the other 17guys should be better so we should improve as a team, but thats still imo probably 2 losses. after that we should begin to improve but it still may be a few years before we have the offensive line to be national champion. still good, but the lost decade wont be redeemed next year as i see it.

    • You’re right in your assessment and to be concerned about our 2019 OL mveal. We have some mitigation in place in the form of a more experienced, running QB, a deep, more experienced WR an RB corps and a solid defense to offset what will likely be a mediocre OL, especially at the start of the season.

      Don’t expect any All SEC players to come out of this OL either.

    • To be fair, last years line was composed of a bunch of guys with years of experience starting. Kind’ve hard for new blood to unseat that experience. Buchanan was a starter and Heggie played when he was healthy. Like Hevesy said, he’s happy he’s got a bunch of new guys he can start coaching from scratch and not have to fix bad habits. Based on how quickly he was able to turn that line around last season, hopefully he’ll be able to do the same with these young guys and get them to the point where they’re maybe not necessarily the strength of the team, but good enough to get us where we want to go. If they can get to a point of opening holes and holding up long enough for Franks to make throws to the crazy amount of talent he has around him, then this team certainly can compete for a championship this season. There’s not too many teams that would’ve beaten them the way they were playing at the end of last season. If that type of production can carry over to this season the sky’s the limit.

  4. Maybe the teams are worried about the degree of the injury. Hope he makes it and does well. Yes he was recruited by a ______ coach. But he is a Gator and I hope he makes it and is successful in the NFL. He also had to suffer with the coaching he had before CDM. The real question which will never be answered is would CDM have recruited him? Regardless he was part of a resurgence and at least for me he showed he has a lot of upside.

    • I can’t imagine the severity would be any worse than the ACL tear Simmons had a couple months ago and was still drafted. Willis McGahee tore every ligament in his knee in the bowl game right before the draft that he thought was career ending. Even though he wasn’t expected to play his entire rookie season, he was still drafted 23rd overall. There’s been several players throughout history that have had injuries and were still drafted. It’s going to be interesting to hear more details about this story. This is an unprecedented drop simply for an injury that no one really heard about till the draft was happening. There’s gotta be something more to it. I hope he gets drafted tonight and proves to everyone what a stupid decision it was to pass on him, especially the Texans who took an OT that’s considered a project who no one picked to go in the first round.

      • Joe me too. Was in the car listening to a ESPN sat channel that said it might be a significant injury. I agree though that there are a lot of politics at play as well in the draft. I hope he is or will be healthy and he will likely play with a chip that will prove he is worthy.

  5. So true CalDad. That’s a good reason not to read much into where Gator players are going in the draft.

    There’s been a lot of coaching turmoil at Florida the last decade. It’s marred players to some degree.