Chris Kirschner/SEC Country
Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan was drafted with the No. 29 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.

Taven Bryan continues Gators’ streak of first-round NFL draft picks

Ryan Young

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Florida lands defensive player in first round of draft for sixth straight year

Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan made it clear after the Gators’ pro day last month that he expected to be a first-round draft pick.

Well, the suspense started to mount on Thursday night, but Bryan got his wish as the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

“It was nerve-wracking, definitely. You’re sitting in there, you’re seeing people go, you’re just kind of waiting, you’re waiting for a call,” Bryan said in a video posted by the Jaguars. “… It was a crazy moment. I almost teared up, and I’m not a big crier or anything like that. It was definitely surreal. I’m very happy about it.”

It marks the sixth straight year the Gators have had a defensive player taken in the first round.

He also becomes the fifth Florida player taken in the first round by the Jaguars all time, following Fred Taylor (2008), Reggie Nelson (2007), Derrick Harvey (2008) and Dante Fowler Jr. (2015).

  • Before the draft, TMZ caught up with Bryan and asked what he planned to do with his first contract. See his response and his father’s response.
  • Among the Florida players likely to hear their names called over the next two days are wide receiver Antonio Callaway, defensive back Duke Dawson, kicker Eddy Pineiro, safety Marcell Harris and punter Johnny Townsend.
  • Follow SEC Country’s Florida Draft Tracker the rest of the week for all the updates.

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In other Florida football news

Recruiting roundup

Florida’s Brady Singer outduels Auburn’s Casey Mize

  • Two of the top prospects for the upcoming MLB draft shared the mound Thursday night at McKethan Stadium, and Florida ace Brady Singer won the spotlight duel with Auburn’s Casey Mize as the top-ranked Gators prevailed 3-1. Singer struck out 8 and allowed 4 hits, 2 walks and the lone run. He improved to 9-1 with the win and lowered his ERA to 2.62. Read the full story here.
  • Mize, meanwhile, gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 3 hits and a walk while striking out 10.
  • Here’s what Gators coach Kevin O’Sullivan had to say afterward: “You know, oftentimes you have two pitchers rated this high to go in the draft, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out like that. Maybe they try to do too much. But it ended up being exactly what we thought it would be. A really well-pitched game, and both guys kept their emotions in check and did what they were supposed to do. It was really fun to be a part of it.”
  • Florida third baseman Jonathan India furthered his National Player of the Year candidacy with a difference-making 2-run home run off Mize in the first inning. It was his 14th homer of the season.

What they’re saying on Twitter

  • Bryan’s pre-draft interview on the way to the NFL draft Thursday night:

  • Former Florida cornerback Quincy Wilson reflected on his draft experience last year:

  • Former Gators QB Luke Del Rio had some thoughts on the news that former Patterson will be cleared to play right away for Michigan this fall:

  • Former Gators offensive lineman Kadeem Telfort, who was suspended in the credit card fraud scandal last fall and transferred to a JUCO, received a scholarship offer from Nebraska:

  • Florida running back Lamical Perine offered his support for Telfort:

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