Could Taven Bryan be the Atlanta Falcons’ First Round Pick?


The Atlanta Falcons could be looking to add to their defensive line in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft. Might the Falcons select Florida’s Taven Bryan if he is available?

I know it’s early — way early — to be talking about the Atlanta Falcons and the 2018 NFL Draft. The Senior Bowl only just wrapped up. We have around four weeks until the Scouting Combine starts. I also know that a lot of what leaks out in to public knowledge winds up just being smokescreen material.

However, I saw a very interesting blurb on that immediately caught my attention.

"“According to Falcons sources, defensive tackle is in the running for their first round pick.” — Charlie Campbell, Walter Football"

OK, no big surprise there.

I’ve been saying that for months. Atlanta stands to lose Dontari Poe, Ahtyba Rubin, Courtney Upshaw, and Adrian Clayborn in free agency. They lost Ra’Shede Hageman before the 2017 season even started.

There’s a real possibility that by the time NFL free agency starts on March 14, the only DT the Falcons will have under contract will be Grady Jarrett. So, just from a depth perspective, it makes sense to look at interior defensive lineman early and often in the Draft.

"“(T)he Falcons think both (Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea) will be long gone as they have the 26th pick. Some Atlanta sources think Vea could go in the Top 10.” — Charlie Campbell, Walter Football"

Again, no big surprise. With Clemson junior Christian Wilkins deciding to go back to school for his senior year, Payne and Vea are the top two DTs in the Draft. Many teams have DT as a need before Atlanta’s pick comes around, such as Dallas and Buffalo.

Now, I don’t know about Vea going in the top ten picks of the Draft (I actually like Payne more than Vea, and I don’t see Payne as a top ten guy), but I could easily see both players going off the board between 15 and 25.

"“(A) player who Atlanta likes is Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan… Falcon staffers say that Bryan’s tape is very impressive, and they are intrigued with him… Atlanta also puts a lot into taking players with good character, and Bryan has that reputation… (He) has a strong work ethic he inherited from his Navy SEAL father.” — Charlie Campbell, Walter Football"

Some interesting tidbits to take away from there.

Bryan is a Florida product. Falcon head coach Dan Quinn was the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach for the Gators in 2011 and 2012.

Atlanta has tapped the Florida pipeline a couple of time since Quinn has arrived with 2016 first rounder Keanu Neal and 2016 undrafted free agent Brian Poole.

Bryan’s father being a former SEAL is a compelling twist, given Quinn’s usage of ex-SEALs during training camp the past two seasons.

While I would personally prefer a space-eating widebody like Payne or Vea or Virginia Tech underclassman Tim Settle, there’s a lot to like about Bryan.

He often garners comparison’s to J.J. Watt, and not just because of his 6′ 4″ 295-pound build.

He can be a three-technique in a 4-3 alignment and a five-technique in either a 4-3 or 3-4 look. He’s athletic and powerful. He’s quick off the snap. He flashes pass-rushing talent.

The tools are there to develop. Technique and the ability to key and diagnose, especially against the run, still need refinement, however.

He’s not a consensus first-round pick yet (though a strong Combine performance could certainly get him there), but I almost always see him in people’s top 50.

Next: Is Wide Receiver a Priority This Offseason?

How would you feel about Bryan wearing the red and black next year?