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College blog perspective: Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor

Taylor played well in Florida, and the coaches expected him to turn pro.

The NFL Draft is only a few days away, and we’re getting close to wrapping up our in-depth investigation of the draft’s top rookie prospects. One of those prospects is Florida Gators tackle Jawaan Taylor, of whom some have anointed as the best offensive lineman in the draft. What did his local fan base think about his career with the Gators? Here’s what Andy Hutchins, who writes for our Gators blog Alligator Army, had to say when Taylor declared for the draft following his junior season.

What are Taylor’s pro prospects like?

Taylor has the size (Florida lists him at 6’5” and 325 pounds, and his weight loss prior to his arrival in Gainesville is well-documented) and the technique to be an NFL starter, and was a consistently strong performer throughout his three years in Gainesville after entering the Gators’ lineup as a true freshman in 2016. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is among the many Draft observers who have been bullish about Taylor’s chances to do that, and he has consistently appeared in the first round of multiple mock drafts this fall.

Was it a surprise to see Taylor declare for the draft?

All [his skills] combine to make Taylor choosing to go pro a logical call for him, and one that was likely very much expected by Florida’s coaching staff — which took a seven-man crop of offensive linemen in its 2019 class, partially in preparation for the possibility that Taylor could depart early and leave the Gators needing to replace four or even all five of the starters on their 2018 offensive line.

Taylor, who started 35 games in three seasons with Florida, is considered one of the top offensive tackles in the draft. Also in first round contention with Taylor are Jonah Williams (Alabama), Andre Dillard (Washington State), Cody Ford (Oklahoma), and Dalton Risner (Kansas State).