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Vikings draft prospect microscope: Florida DT Taven Bryan

By Matthew Coller

As we lead up to the NFL Draft here at 1500ESPN, we will take a closer look at the prospects who could end up as Minnesota Vikings. For this edition, we focus on Taven Bryan.

Why the Vikings could draft Taven Bryan:

While they may have just signed Sheldon Richardson to a lucrative deal, his contract is only for one year. If Mr. Richardson has a big season, it’s very likely he’ll be on the hunt for a mega deal that the Vikings can’t afford. So they could be looking for the three-technique defensive tackle of the future and a player who can rotate into the lineup next season. GM Rick Spielman also said the team will aim to use more of a rotation to preserve their talented front four.

What draft experts are saying:

ESPN’s Mel Kiper ranked Bryan No. 20 on his big board. Kiper wrote:

“Bryan would be a first-round pick based all on projection, as his college production didn’t match his talent. He had only 5.5 career sacks, and four came in 2017. At 6-foot-5, 291 pounds, Bryan is a physical specimen, though, whose raw attributes will attract a team. He will take time to develop but could be a star as a penetrating 3-technique in a 4-3 defense.”

Pro Football Focus wrote:

“Bryan has the kind of rst step that GMs will fall in love with – especially in a light defensive line class. It’s concerning though that Florida let Bryan explode o the line of scrimmage consistently and he still wasn’t anything special production-wise. He’s a project in a number of ways, but his ashes suggest he could someday put it all together.”

His NFL.com draft profile says:

“Talented defender with rare athletic ability and play traits. Bryan’s lack of production is due to a lack of instincts and feel for the position and he’s still in a developmental phase as a prospect. Bryan played inside at Florida but has the size and talent to play inside or outside. His instincts and feel are below average so his development could take time, but when he is a finished product, Bryan has the ability to become a disruptive, highly productive talent with a very high ceiling.”

What the numbers say:

Bryan did not have huge sack totals during his Gator career, but he did consistently drive opposing offensive linemen back and create pressure. As you can see from Pro Football Focus’s grades in each area, he ranked among the best pass rushers and pressured the QB at a high rate, but did not end up with sacks. Bryan was in the top 10 in pass rush productivity,

At the NFL Combine, Bryan demolished the drills, ranking among the elites in vertical, broad jump and 3-cone drill and far above average in the 40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle and bench press.

Here are his scores via Mockdraftable:

What stands out is his lack of weight for the position, but that might work in his favor for the Vikings, who have tended to prefer someone on the lighter, quicker side. Sheldon Richardson was in the 20th percentile of weight, Bryan is in the 13th.

If you look at Richardson’s profile, there are quite a few similarities.

Bottom line:

For a guy who is considered a project, Bryan made a pretty significant impact against both the run and pass. You don’t have to look very far to find players on the Vikings’ D-line who were considered projects and then worked their way into stars under D-line coach Andre Patterson. If Bryan is still on the board at No. 30, he could make a lot of sense for the Vikings.

Watch Taven Bryan

The post Vikings draft prospect microscope: Florida DT Taven Bryan appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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