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.
Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue hinting he’s gone again?
One of the key free-agent questions for the Jaguars continues to be whether or not they’re going to allow their best pass rusher, Yannick Ngakoue, to test the free-agent market coming up? And, once again, the player may be giving a clue that he’s going to do just that.
Ngakoue tweeted Wednesday morning the following phrase, which seems to indicate, yet again, that he will be playing somewhere else in 2020:
— Yannick Ngakoue (@YannickNgakoue) February 26, 2020
This goes along with something that we wrote earlier in January. That’s when just a couple of days after the season Ngakoue posted essentially a goodbye message to Jaguar fans. This came on the heels of him having held out for a new contract for the first few days of training camp last August, but not receiving a new deal during the season, etc.
Ngakoue, whose 37.5 career sacks are the most by a Jaguars player after 63 career games, is sure to be a sought-after player from many different teams. GM Dave Caldwell said at the end of the season when asked about re-sgning his star pass rusher, “He is a tremendous player and even a better person. How he handled his business this year was tremendous. But, I would say that’s priority No. 1, to make sure he comes back to Jacksonville. Hopefully, we can get that done. ″
It’s also worth noting that at Tuesday’s NFL Scouting Combine at media availability in Indianapolis, coach Doug Marrone repeated that he wants Ngakoue to remain in Jaguars teal and white:
Doug Marrone: ‘’No doubt where I stand or the coaches.”
—They want Yannick Ngakoue back. pic.twitter.com/vOorH4hH95
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 26, 2020
However, it remains to be seen if Marrone and Caldwell are willing to “pony up” huge money for him or even potentially, put the franchise tag on him before free agency begins next month?
Ngakoue figures to want a contract close to what the top ends are getting paid right now. Demarcus Lawrence and Frank Clark both signed five-year, over $100 million deals in 2019 and received guaranteed money that exceeded $62 million. That is massive for Jacksonville.
If the Jags opt for the “franchise tag,” then the talented end will be making around $19 million dollars, which is the current average of the top five players at his position. The Jaguars could also put the tag on him and then work on a longer term, salary cap friendly, deal that would replace the tag later in the off season.
Jaguars confirm they are declining option on DT Dareus
At Tuesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell made official what had been rumored for the last couple of days regarding defensive tackle Marcell Dareus: he will not be brought back for a fourth season in Jacksonville.
Caldwell confirmed the Jaguars are not picking up DT Marcell Dareus' option.
— John Reid (@JohnReid64) February 25, 2020
Dareus only played briefly in 2019, as he suffered a core muscle injury that sidelined him after only six games and he was placed on injured reserve. The former number one pick of the Buffalo Bills had played for coach Doug Marrone for a couple of seasons in Western New York.
Marrone and Caldwell traded for Dareus during the 2017 season and he helped them with their rise to the AFC South title and two playoff wins. This included Darius registering two sacks and four other tackles-for-loss in the Jaguars three playoff games that year.
Dareus made the Pro Bowl twice in Buffalo in 2013-14.
However, he has not lived up to his hefty contract that was reworked Jacksonville last February. Last season, Dareus made over $8 million dollars and the team would have been on the hook for $20 million this year had they picked up the option. That obviously wasn’t going to happen.
Dareus also has had legal troubles off the field, including a civil suit against him in Tampa for alleged sexual misconduct. As we wrote previously, a woman alleged that Dareus had sexually assaulted her in January of 2018 at a North Tampa Florida home, while Dareus was in town for the Alabama-Clemson College Football Playoff Championship Game.
However, that suit filed in Hillsborough County court was “dismissed with prejudice” last April, which means it cannot be re-filed.
Dareus, if healthy after the core muscle injury rehab, may have some value as a defensive tackle on the free agent market.
As for the Jaguars, they have former #1 pick defensive tackle Taven Bryan to play more in the middle and are trying to decide if free agent-to-be, DE Yannick Ngakoue, can be afforded for their 2020 salary cap?