Taylor makes his presence felt on, off field during rookie season for Jaguars

0
1399
Jacksonville offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

By John Reid, Florida Times-Union

JACKSONVILLE — Earlier last week, Jaguars rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor didn’t just bring his 102-year-old great aunt, Clara Lyons, a Christmas gift.

He came with gifts for all 105 elderly residents at the Rockledge Health and Rehabilitation Center, where his great aunt resides near Cocoa, his hometown.

“A lot of players give back to the kids, I wanted to give back to the elderly,″ Taylor said. “Every chance I have, I try to show her [great aunt] some love.″

Taylor said his great aunt is not only the biggest foundation in his family, but she’s one of his biggest fans, too.

She watches him play each week on television.

And she critiques if she sees flaws.

“She knows everything,″ Taylor said. “She knows everybody, and everybody knows her.″

On his off day Dec. 24, Taylor was like Santa. He handed out gift bags filled with blankets, socks and other items. And he posed for pictures and signed autographs.

“I tried to give things that they could use,″ Taylor said. “I packed it in gifts bags. It was fun.″

Taylor has done other good deeds, too.

Earlier this season, he was asked to perform with the blues group “Robert Randolph and the Family Band” at the historic Florida Theater. Taylor has played the drums since he was 6 years old at the House of God Church in Palm Bay, where his father, Robert, is an assistant pastor.

Taylor hopes to enjoy a win at home for the first time since Oct. 27 this Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts in the season finale at TIAA Bank Field.

Two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, he earned his highest grade (92 percent) from offensive line coach George Warhop. Taylor didn’t have a penalty or allow any sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, Taylor only allowed two pressures during the Jaguars’ 20-16 win on Dec. 15 that snapped their five-game losing streak.

Taylor, a second-round pick in the 2019 draft out of Florida, has been tested every week this season. He’s had to develop quickly, facing top-level edge rushers like Kansas City’s Frank Clark, Houston’s J.J. Watt and the Saints’ Cameron Jordan.

Taylor did not win all of his battles this season. He’s also the second-most penalized player in the NFL with 14 penalties for 110 yards, ranking behind only Houston tackle Laremy Tunsil’s 15 penalties for 80 yards.

Still, Taylor has shown enough promise to be considered one of the mainstays in the unit that could undergo a major revamp this offseason to improve.

“I’ve learned every single week from going against so many different players early on,″ Taylor said. “It definitely put me where I am right now. I’m getting more in tuned, more comfortable with what I have to do every single week and how to prepare. I am still learning, but definitely getting better.″