Cocoa High and University of Florida product Jawaan Taylor had to endure an unexpected drop in the 2019 NFL Draft on one of the league’s biggest stages.
One of about 20 prospects officially invited to attend the event in Nashville and be introduced on stage, Taylor expected to do that on the first night, Thursday. Alas, he dropped to the second round, the third pick of Friday night, 35th overall.
He went to the team most 2019 NFL Draft analysts had predicted, only a day later.
“I just had to stay patient and just sat back in the green room. I had to come back. I feel like I showed good character and I didn’t want to get out of character,” he said. “It was a little devastating. I just had so much confidence in myself and I had high expectations for myself but you know, it’s a plan that everybody has and God has for me.”
Taylor had been projected to go first among offensive tackles, but four went Thursday night. He seemed to fit with the Jags as a starter for the right tackle spot.
“I met with them at the Combine and met with them during (Florida’s) Pro Day. I even had a private workout with them and a top-30 visit. I felt like the Jaguars had some interest,” Taylor said. “I feel like I can fit anywhere, so whatever team drafted me I felt like I could fit in. I feel like I can fit in Jacksonville, zone, whatever type of run scheme they want to run.”
Taylor came out after his junior season having started games in each of his three seasons in Gainesville, 35 in all. He said he heard Thursday night that past knee problems had worried NFL teams.
“I’m 100 percent healthy. Little things came out before the draft, the night before, it caught me by surprise. I knew I was 100 percent healthy. I just had to be patient.”
Declaring he has something to prove now, he offered a description of his game for Jaguars fans.
“(I’m) very nasty, I’m very aggressive. That’s just how I play football. That’s just how they play the game. I’m going to make sure I’m coming in and work from Day 1. … A guy that loves to win and very passionate and loves the game. I’m just going to bring that every single day.”
His former Cocoa High teammates Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and Jamel Dean now wait to be picked.
Family, friends of Chauncey Gardner-Johnson react to Jawaan Taylor, fellow Cocoa & Gators product going to the Jacksonville Jags in 2019 NFL Draft. Craig Bailey, Florida Today.