Many, many 2019 NFL Draft mocks had the Jacksonville Jaguars keeping Florida offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor within the Sunshine State with the No. 7 pick on Thursday.
That didn’t happen, as Taylor surprisingly slid out of the first round altogether.
But the Jaguars did get the hulking Taylor after all, trading up in the second round to make Taylor the first Gator off the board in this year’s draft at the No. 35 overall pick.
Taylor was a model of consistent contributions at Florida, starting throughout his three years in Gainesville after reshaping his body as a three-star prospect hailing from Cocoa High School in Brevard County. He didn’t miss a start — or significant snaps — with injury, which made his Thursday slide and the attendant reports of NFL teams finding some issue with a knee injury perplexing to Florida fans.
But now a player once thought of as a potential top-10 pick will get to play just a few hours up the road from his hometown, and for a franchise that has made a habit of selecting Gators of late, with Dante Fowler Jr. and Taven Bryan each meriting first-round selections this decade.
And Taylor may not be the only Cocoa Tiger turned Florida Gator to be drafted tonight, with safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson considered a likely Day 2 choice.