We had wondered how long it would take for Gators offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor to have his name called Friday night, once the second round began in the NFL Draft, and the answer was three selections. And, as it turns out, Taylor will not have to travel far from where he played his college ball to play on Sundays in the NFL.
That’s after the Jacksonville Jaguars worked an immediate trade with the Oakland Raiders for the 35th overall pick, and grabbed the Gators starting right tackle from the last two seasons:
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) April 26, 2019
We had written late Thursday night about Taylor being passed over in the first round of the draft after many had him projected going as high as the top 15, if not the top 10, of round one.
There were four other offensive tackles including a guard and center chosen in the first round instead of Taylor.
The big right tackle from Florida had a hamstring injury back in February. He was advised to not participate in any of the timed drills like the 40-yard dash or 5-10-5 drill, as well as the long and broad jump events, at the NFL Combine.
There were also reports that Taylor had a lingering right knee problem. On Thursday night, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that Taylor had a letter sent from orthopedist Dr. James Andrews that went to multiple NFL Organizations on his behalf.
Taylor told the Jacksonville media Friday night that there were “false medical reports” out there about his knee problems, and that although he had surgery after 2017, he was fully healthy all of his final season in Gainesville.
As a true freshman in for Florida in 2016, Taylor became one of the top offensive linemen in the SEC by his junior year last season. He further showed versatility in his sophomore season starting nine times at right tackle, but playing the final two games that season at left tackle.
As for the trade, Jacksonville gave up a swap of their fourth round pick in a swap for Oakland’s fifth round pick and a seventh round pick to take Taylor:
Terms of Jaguars-Raiders trade: Jaguars give up No. 38 and a fourth-round pick for No. 35, a fifth-round pick, and a seventh-round pick.
— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) April 26, 2019
The Jaguars clearly had a need at the tackle position and they were decimated by injuries on the O-line during a 5-11 season a year ago.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.