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Saturday, Aug 18, 2018
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Is former Florida Gators lineman Taven Bryan a first-round NFL draft pick?

Aside from former Florida State safety Derwin James, the most likely first-round pick from a state college is ex-Florida defensive lineman Taven Bryan.

He hopes, at least.

"That would (stink) if I didn't," Bryan said last month at Florida's pro day.

The guess (repeat: guess) here is that Bryan gets his wish tonight on the first day of the NFL draft. Falcons coach Dan Quinn (a former UF assistant) seems to like former Gators; he drafted safety Keanu Neal in the first round in 2016 and signed defensive back Brian Poole as an undrafted free agent. Atlanta has a need at defensive tackle, and Bryan makes sense as a late first-round pick (the Falcons pick 26th).

If Bryan does go in the first round, it'll mark the sixth year in a row a UF product was chosen that high. The 6-foot-4, 291-pound Wyoming native believes he has done enough to warrant it.

"Tape's really what matters, honestly," Bryan said. "And I feel like I have really exceptional tape."

He also has strong measurables; a 35-inch vertical leap (fourth-best among defensive linemen at the combine) and the second-quickest three-cone shuttle time.

The problem is that Bryan's production didn't match his potential. In 36 career games, he totaled 67 tackles, 10 ½ for a loss, 5 ½ sacks and seven quarterback hurries. That's why the phrase "boom or bust" comes up with him.

Does that mean he'll slide out of the first round, and make UF's subpar draft class look even worse? We'll find out tonight.

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