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College Coach Speak: Taven Bryan

April 26, 2018: Taven Bryan poses after being picked #29 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX Albert Pena/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)
April 26, 2018: Taven Bryan poses after being picked #29 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX Albert Pena/CSM (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

JACKSONVILLE – He'll be very good, perhaps great.

More than one analyst has offered that assessment of Jaguars rookie defensive lineman Taven Bryan in recent weeks and months, and his college position coach feels the same way.

Chris Rumph, who coached Bryan during the past three seasons while an assistant at the University of Florida, said the consensus on the Jaguars' talented rookie is correct.

He's not a finished product, and there is rawness.

But Bryan's talent and potential are real.

"I would love to be his coach two years from now; that's when I think you'll see [Bryan's full potential],'" Rumph told recently. "It's going to be scary once he puts it all together. It's going to be really scary."

Rumph joined the Florida staff as defensive line coach in 2015, holding the position the past three seasons and serving as co-defensive coordinator in 2017. He now is the co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Tennessee.

Bryan, who played at Casper (Wyoming) Natrona County High School, originally signed with Florida when Will Muschamp was the head coach in 2014. He redshirted that year, then played for Rumph the past three seasons.

"We went through a lot together," said Rumph, whose 16 seasons of collegiate coaching experience includes six in the Southeastern Conference and three at Alabama. "Just watching him grow up not only as a player, but as a young man. was really rewarding."

Bryan (6-feet-5, 291 pounds) was selected No. 29 overall by the Jaguars in the April 2018 NFL Draft. He appeared in 36 games with 14 starts. Eleven of those starts came during his junior season.

Bryan, an Associated Press second-team All-SEC selection in 2017, registered 19 solo tackles and four sacks as a senior with six tackles for loss. He finished with 67 career tackles – 40 solos – in three seasons with 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Jaguars officials at the time of the selection agreed with the pre-draft consensus that Bryan's combination of size and athleticism made him a value selection late in the first round, with Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin lauding Bryan's "outstanding quickness" and "outstanding ability to come off the ball."

"He's somebody you can't help but watch," Coughlin said at the time. "Just put the tape on and sooner or later he's going to pop out at you."

Rumph said he saw the same in three seasons with Bryan.

"God touches a few people with it (special athleticism)," Rumph said. "He happened to get in that line. He got a good look at that athletic line."

Rumph described Bryan as a player willing to do what's necessary to fulfill that potential.

"He's driven; he's very much driven," Rumph said. "He has improved a lot in a small amount of years. He has a lot of goals; he won't tell you all of his goals, but he has a lot of things he wants to do."

Rumph, too, said he believes Bryan can benefit from playing on a strong Jaguars defensive line that includes three 2017 Pro Bowl selections – defensive ends Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue and defensive tackle Malik Jackson.

Coughlin during the draft said Bryan would be wise to get Campbell's coffee every morning and listen to what the 11th-year veteran All-Pro defensive end had to share, emphasizing how much the rookie could learn from the veteran leader. Rumph said Bryan is the sort of personality to do so.

"You push that pedal, he's going to go," Rumph said.

And while he's no longer coaching Bryan, Rumph said there's every chance whoever coaches him in the future will be happy with the player the Jaguars selected late in Round 1 last month.

"He's just going to continue to grow, and he has the chance to be really special if he continues to grow," Rumph said. "That's why I say I want to coach this guy in two years. He's going to make the coach and defensive coordinator look really good."

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