JACKSONVILLE – A long, long wait ended with something of a surprise.
Taven Bryan, a defensive tackle from the University of Florida, late Thursday night became the Jaguars' first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Jaguars selected Bryan with the No. 29 overall selection.
Bryan (6-feet-4, 291 pounds), who will be listed as a defensive lineman by the Jaguars, was mentioned as a possibility for the Jaguars by few analysts throughout the pre-draft process.
The Jaguars, making their latest Round 1 selection in nearly two decades, were most often projected to select offensive line, tight end or wide receiver, but team decision-makers stressed during the team's April 20 pre-draft luncheon they would take the best player available regardless of position.
That turned out to be Bryan, who forewent his senior season at Florida and was projected by many analysts as a mid-first-round selection. Bryan registered 65 tackles with four sacks and an interception at Florida.
He was one of the players invited by the NFL to the draft, which was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Thursday's Round 1 was a departure from recent Jaguars drafts. No. 29 overall tied the latest the team ever had chosen in Round 1, with the team also selecting No. 29 overall in 2000. The team selected Southern California wide receiver R. Jay Soward that year.
Thursday also marked the first time since 2007 the Jaguars selected outside the Top 10. They selected in the Top 5 from 2012-2017, last selecting outside the Top 10 when they selected safety Reggie Nelson from Florida No. 21 overall in '07.
That meant a long wait for the Jaguars, with three hours passing between the time the Cleveland Browns selected Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall around 8:18 p.m. and the Jaguars' selection.
Quarterback and offensive line defined the Top 10, with the Browns selecting Mayfield at No. 1, the New York Jets selecting Southern California quarterback Sam Darnold at No. 3 and the Buffalo Bills trading with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the No. 7 overall selection and selecting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen there. The Arizona Cardinals traded with the Oakland Raiders to move to the No. 10 overall selection, using it to select a fourth Top 10 quarterback: UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen.
The Jacksonville Jaguars selected Taven Bryan with the 29th overall pick in the 2018 draft.
The rest of the Top 10: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley to the New York Giants at No. 2, Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward to the Browns at No. 4, North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb to the Denver Broncos at No. 5 and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson to the Indianapolis Colts at No. 6. The Chicago Bears selected Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith at No. 8 followed by Notre Dame offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 9.
Selections 11-20 were defense-heavy, with eight defensive players selected in that span: UCLA offensive tackle Kolton Miller (Oakland Raiders, No. 15) and Arkansas center Frank Ragnow (Detroit Lions, No. 20) were the only offensive players selected in that span. Center Billy Price of Ohio State went No. 21 to Cincinnati, the fifth offensive linemen selected at that point.
No wide receivers or tight ends had been selected at that point.
That changed as the Jaguars' selection neared, with South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst selected by the Baltimore Ravens No. 25 overall and Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley selected by the Atlanta Falcons No. 26 overall.
The Seahawks selected San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny No. 26 overall, with the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds there at No. 28 to put the Jaguars on the clock.