Monday notes: Meet Florida’s rising star Taven Bryan

Florida’s Taven Bryan is enjoying a great start to the 2017 season

The 2018 draft could be rich in defensive line talent. NC State’s Bradley Chubb is making a strong case to go in the top-15 with a stunning start to the season, Christian Wilkins and Clelin Ferrell continue to impress at Clemson and Vita Vea is the type of athletic nose tackle that generally goes early in round one.

Florida’s Taven Bryan could be another name to add to the list.

He’s 6-4, 291lbs and the son of a former Navy Seal. “I’ve been blessed genetically” he says, a statement that is highly accurate to be fair.

Of the players I’ve watched for the first time in 2017, Bryan is on a par with Notre Dame’s brilliant guard Quenton Nelson.

This guy is arguably the best athlete on our football team” says Florida coach Jim McElwain. “I’m sure many of the players would tell you the same thing.”

Temple head coach Geoff Collins, the former Florida defensive coordinator, goes a step further:

“I always thought he had J.J. Watt-ish ability… He’s a physical freak, and he’s gotten better every single day. He’s an NFL player now with room to get better. It’s a scary thought.”

So what does he show on the field? Brute strength for a start:

He’s number #93 in the video above. Look how he drives the Iowa center into the backfield and essentially takes out the running back with his own team mate.

Is he quick?

Look at his get off here and the immediate panic on the right side of Iowa’s O-line. He’s all over the right guard. It’s an absolute demolition of the line, moving the quarterback off the spot despite the shotgun snap. He has to scramble, he forces the throw and it’s a turnover.

Against Tennessee he was constantly in the backfield and he took things to another level against Kentucky. You can see for yourself in the full game video below:

If you’re looking for a player who could really promote himself into the first round conversation this season, keep an eye on Taven Bryan.


There’s some talk today about Sam Darnold not declaring for the draft next year:

It wouldn’t be a major shock. This is his first full year as a starting quarterback in college. There’s enough evidence to argue playing time at QB is necessary to sufficiently prepare for the next level.

Darnold has shown a great deal of playmaking quality and talent this year, despite turning the ball over eight times compared to nine touchdown passes. If he does turn pro he’ll be a possible #1 overall pick. There will be some risk if he returns to USC in 2018 and doesn’t progress.

Still, it’s hard to argue with his decision if he’s already leaning towards staying in college. There can’t be many NFL quarterbacks who had only one full season as a starter in college.

It could open the door for Josh Rosen as a potential top pick. He too has turned the ball over a little too regularly but his poise, accuracy, willingness to stand tall in the pocket and throw a wide assortment of passes is impressive. He’s shining on a struggling UCLA team and looked good again against Colorado:

Rosen isn’t a sure thing at the next level or anything — but who is? He’ll be worth a shot with a high pick next year if he turns pro.

A couple of Washington State fans were asking on Saturday why there was no mention of Luke Falk’s performance against USC. I watched the game in condensed mode and focused on Darnold. I promise to review the game and watch Falk, with notes to follow.

A quick final point — it’s time to at least give Seattle’s offensive line at least a little bit of praise. This much maligned group has already lost its starting left tackle (and now appears set to lose the backup to injury too). According to PFF, on 33 dropbacks yesterday the offensive line only allowed six pressures.

I’ve not studied the tape from the last two weeks, however the initial viewing seemed to suggest progress from Luke Joeckel and Germain Ifedi. Oday Aboushi had a rough period against the Colts with a series of penalties and errors but it was only his second start. Justin Britt has simply continued his 2016 form.

If Joeckel and Ifedi can continue to move forward, they might be able to write in pen three positions on this line. That would be a major step forward from last year when there were question marks at four positions.

Next week is a big test against Aaron Donald and co.

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  1. swisshawk

    Sorry Rob for changing the subject, but what do you think would be needed to get OT Brown from Houston (Jimmy?)? Any chance at all? (In wake of Rees injury)

    • Rob Staton

      No chance at all I’m afraid. The Texans need Brown and have enough offensive weapons. There are so few good OT’s out there, the prospect of any team trading a legit starter is highly unlikely.

      • swisshawk

        Damn, I hoped for an other answer 😉 The Offense we saw yesterday with a legit LT? Watch out.

  2. AlaskaHawk

    What to do about Left Tackle? I’m wondering if Seahawks would favor talent over training or vice versa? For instance would they be willing to try Ethan Pocic there? He has never played the left side.

    Or would they try someone else at left tackle? Or slide Joeckel out to tackle and add a left guard?? Some tough choices there.

    Who else is available? Maybe Glowinski? Or is it time to try Justin Senior?

    • AlaskaHawk

      Hmm Maybe Tyrus Thompson is the most experienced left tackle they got. Played at Oklahoma.

      • Rob Staton

        Thompson was cut

    • Rob Staton

      Isaiah Battle was apparently in contention to start at LT in Tennessee, per Brock Huard and Danny O’Neil. Would imagine he’s in with a shout to play if Odhiambo can’t go.

      • C-Dog

        Pete Carroll tossed out a bit of a hint this afternoon that we could be seeing Battle in the lineup at some point down the line. He referred to his steady practice play to being on par with the way McKissic had been practicing his way into an opportunity.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn

        They have 2 options “in-house” so I find it highly unlikely they trade for a LT.
        Let’s not give up on Odhiambo just yet, the “kid” is getting better each week. Yes he is injured, but he might still be the best option when he is ready to go again.

      • Logan Lynch

        He had a pretty decent scouting report from Walter Football.

        It’ll be interesting to see what they do. Tobin has gotten a few snaps and hasn’t fared any better than Odhiambo it seemed. The fact that they’re still carrying 10 OL makes me think that they see something in Battle. He’s got good size and a decent pedigree coming from Clemson. He was also graded highly by PFF in the preseason. I’m curious to see what we have in him. At least we’d know if he’s worth keeping around on the roster.

        • AlaskaHawk

          I like players from Clemson and Alabama, they have good programs. Looking at Battle’s weight he was 290 in college, has he gained some muscle??

          • Logan Lynch

            The Seahawks website still has him listed at 290, but I’m not sure how accurate that is. I would like to think he’s gained strength being on an NFL weight training regimen for 2 seasons, but you know what they say about assumptions. According to that scouting report, he’s always been a better pass blocker than run blocker. At LT, that’s acceptable anyway.

  3. CHawk Talker Eric

    Good find with Bryan. I watched them Saturday and he flashed a couple of times.

    Also thought WSU OLB Hercules Mata’afa looked good vs USC.

    I think Darnold stays one more season at ‘SC. As you mentioned, he’s not yet been a full-season starter. His supporting cast should be better next year, including the OL (the Trojans are a very young team, mostly So/Jr), and he would NOT be the #1 pick this year, but he could be next year.

    Darnold reminds me a lot of Wilson at Wisconsin. The same style of play, level of competitiveness, versatility, decision making and confidence.

    Rosen will probably come out this year and will probably be the first pick (even if Saquon Barkley deserves to be).

    • C-Dog

      For Darnold, I would like to see him stay in another year. I think he has all the tools, but he can stand to refine his game.

    • Volume12

      Rosen by a wide margin over Darnold. Only thing Darnold has is mobility. His footwork is awful. That needs to be fixed quickly. It affects his delivery. Too many moving parts for me with him.

  4. Trevor

    Bryan looks like a beast. Would be a great add to the DL if they can’t sign Richardson.

  5. STTBM

    Am really bummed to hear Odhiambo may have a bruised heart. But if so, he’ll miss time, and if he does, I really hope Isaiah Battle gets the nod. I’d be thrilled if a guy could come in and be able to hold his own after less than a month on the team!

    It might rekindle my burnt out faith in Tom Cable as well lol!, though thats a tall order!

    • C-Dog

      It’s not a bruised heart. Sternum

  6. Ed

    I would say biggest needs:


    However, I don’t think you could ever pass up studs on the Dline. Bennett and Avril are on the back nine. It’s going to be interesting what happens the next two off seasons. The defense is getting old and expensive. With no 2nd round pick, I would almost guarantee JS trades out of 1st. Haven’t seen any updates on McDowell, did I miss anything?

    • Hawktalker#1

      Yeah, anyone heard anything on McDowell?
      What exactly was the Carson injury?

      • C-Dog

        There’s some rumors out there that his facial injuries might be career threatening. If the team doesn’t IR him, they don’t have to pay him for the season. It’s a fairly odd situation.

      • C-Dog

        Carson has a severe high ankle sprain.

        • Logan Lynch

          Plus a non-displaced leg fracture below the knee. Sounds like the surgery is for the high ankle sprain, so the leg fracture must be able to heal naturally.

    • Preston

      Respectfully disagree in the order of needs. A fierce pass rush is the identity of this team. As you said, Avril and Bennett aren’t getting any younger and a steep drop off isn’t uncommon to see with dlinemen around their age. They take a lot of punishment. We addressed the future of our secondary in ’17 draft (though hill and Thompson are unproven). That said, DE is a huge need unless we sign (or resign) veterans. Considering how expensive those players are, it’s ideal to get them on cheap rookie deals and groom them to your program. If this year truly is stacked in OL, I’d love nothing more than to nab as many as we can early and often. After all, PC and JS are able to find gems even in round 7 for almost all other positions… I’ll take those chances.

      If Joeckal and abushi steadily improve throughout the remainder of the season, are you willing to pay a sizable chunk of cap for at best middling play? Or do you take a couple young guys in the deepest OL draft in years to mix with the sophomore veterans and Britt you have now? I’d choose the latter to take care of our rising stars such as frank Clark.

      1-2 OL, OL
      3-4 DE or TE (depending on jimmy extension)
      5-6 SAM LB or RB
      7 WR

      • Volume12

        You have to keep rolling the dice on OT’s until you nail one.

        Pass rushers get better with age. Clark will be even better in a year or two. Will be impossible to pay him and another high priced pass rusher. Clark and a mid level vet? More plausible. Clark and a day 2-3 upside rusher? Again. More plausible.

        • Logan Lynch

          Could even be a cheap re-up with Marcus Smith if he continues to improve in this system. Pete compared him to Clemons yesterday. Now that would be a steal.

          • C-Dog


          • Volume12


      • Volume12

        I mean its not like 37 year old Julius Peppers is up there among the leagues sack leaders or anything. IIRC, there isn’t a guy in the top 5 or 6 that hasn’t been in the league at least 3 years.

  7. SheHawk

    Glad to see Rob is going to give us his thoughts on Luke Falk from WSU

    Curious why Jake Browning isn’t being talked about more.??
    All he does is win, very smart player, talented.. I can see someone like Elway liking Jake a lot.

    • Volume12

      PC likes Falk.

      • C-Dog

        I caught that yesterday

    • C-Dog

      As someone who watches that program closely, I’m a bit meh on Browning. He might make a serviceable pro, but I have questions as to how well he handles pressure. His demeanor when things go sideways sometimes raises my eyebrows a bit. Right now, if I were to grab one of the local qbs, it would be Falk.

      • AlaskaHawk

        He looks frail to me, and has a tendency to throw high when he is off. I felt like he held Washington back in the BCS series last year, but he was rumored to be playing hurt.

  8. D-OZ

    They will face off in the Apple Cup. Pressure filled game. We will see who emerges. They are both very good QB’s. I like Jake’s understanding of the game a little better. Both are accurate passer’s while neither has a power arm.

  9. D-OZ

    A few day’s ago I mentioned Darnold would not come out for this draft. He indicated as much before the season started. The way this season has been going for him I am sure he will stay in school to enhance his stock.

  10. TheDarnold

    Rob, what are your thoughts on USC D-linemen Uchenna Nwosu? He’s been a ferocious pass rusher, especially on third downs. He also knows when he won’t get to the QB in time and often bats the ball down. I think he can be a good player in this league.

    • Rob Staton

      Not had a chance to watch him specifically yet but I will take a look this week

  11. D-OZ

    Just watched game tape on Battle against Georgia and Oklahoma. Snyder got a “diamond in the rough” in that guy. I was impressed. Check him out on u tube. Pete mentioned him yesterday, really likes him. played LT for Clemson…

    • Aaron

      Might as well give him a shot. However, it’s a baptism by fire going against Quinn. Then again, I don’t think we have any LT on the roster that can adequately deal with him. Does Battle have any NFL starts?

  12. Trevor

    If I am the Browns I take Barkley at #1 then Lamar Jackson with their 2nd pick in Rd #1..

    Then install an offense based on the zone read and have the most dynamic run game imaginable.

    • Matt B.

      Seems like the RB position is having a bit of a revival in terms of higher draft positions and a lot of success from young guys in the league. I’m a Seahawks fan first and foremost but I like rooting for the Browns given their horrible run for so long and the possibility that they could turn it around at some point. This year has been really disappointing so far, I thought the investments on the O-Line would pay greater dividends in their running game to take some pressure off of Kizer however it certainly hasn’t worked out that way yet. I think Barkley would be a great pickup but they are also going to need some better defensive play if they are going to try to turn the ship with either Kizer or a Jackson.

      I love watching their draft/roster construction approach and hope they get at least a couple more years to see if they can make it pay off…

  13. Mark Souza

    Funny thing, as I was watching the Rosen video, my eyes kept being drawn to their Left Tackle Poasi Moala #71. He has some very good attributes. UCLA has their line work from a 3-point stance even on pass downs, and Moala had no problem with that. He has good footwork and good speed. No one was able to speed rush around him, he was always in position. The one weakness I did see was he sometimes engages high, and the DE was able to dip low and get past him when Moala lost his leverage. A good line coach could fix this.

    I don’t know what kind of competition he was facing at Defensive End, but I will be watching him to see how he performs against the rest of the PAC 12.

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