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Chiefs’ Jawaan Taylor feels great as training camp ramps up

Kansas City’s free agent tackle acquisition is ready to play home games outside of Florida for the first time.

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars Arrive for Camp Florida Times-Union-USA TODAY NETWORK

Earlier this offseason, Kansas City Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor revealed that his teammates had advised him to be in shape for his first training camp under head coach Andy Reid.

Speaking after Saturday’s practice from Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Taylor appeared to have taken that advice to heart.

“I’m loving it, honestly,” he said of Reid’s notoriously taxing camp. “I came in in great shape — and I knew what to do to be prepared. I’m just adjusting and locking in and getting ready to go.”

Taylor credits the work he did between organized team activities (OTAs) in June and reporting to St. Joseph.

“I heard [camp] was hard — one of the hardest of the NFL,” he explained. “So I [knew] on my little break to definitely get in shape — and that’s what I did. I worked out every day and just got ready to go.”

After spending his first four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Taylor joined the Chiefs in the early stages of free agency, continuing the Chiefs’ recent process of repeatedly overhauling the offensive line. He is high on the top talent he now finds surrounding him.

“[It’s] a lot of fun, honestly, to play with great guys like that,” Taylor remarked. “I go out there every day with a smile on my face. [I’m] happy to go play football again.”

He is particularly high on the player who lines up to his left: third-year right guard Trey Smith. Though Taylor has been in the league longer, he sees playing with Smith as a learning opportunity.

“Trey is a great vet,” Taylor said of his teammate. “Having him next to me, he brings that dominance and nasty mentality — and I like that a lot. I like to fancy my game after that. Playing next to Trey is [going] very well. Communication has been good.”

Joining the Chiefs as an offensive lineman means being charged with keeping quarterback Patrick Mahomes healthy. He also credited the face of the league with helping him to adjust.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs Training Camp Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

“Just a great leader,” Taylor declared of Mahomes. “He brings that energy every day. He holds everybody accountable. If you mess up, we’re going to redo it. Even in walkthroughs and the learning periods, we always slow it down and get to learn the offense. That’s been helping me a lot with the walkthroughs and learning the things they [have] done here.”

The Chiefs have practiced this week under heat advisories. Taylor — who played high school and college football in Florida before joining the Jaguars — has a unique perspective on the Missouri heat.

“A little Florida-like,” he said of current conditions in St. Joseph. “Just not as humid [as Florida] — a little more dry. So that’s a little adjustment. But it’s been pretty hot, [though] not too bad.”

Even so, he is excited to see a greater variety of weather in Kansas City after previously playing every level of football in the Sunshine State.

“I played here twice last year [with Jacksonville],” Taylor recalled, “so I knew what to expect. I know they get all four seasons here, so I’m excited about that to try something new — [to] just [be] in a different climate for once.”

Another new experience is being away from training camp. Once a near-universal league practice, the Chiefs are among a handful of franchises that are still taking the entire team off-site for a month of training camp. Though he did not stay in concrete dorm rooms as a Jaguar, Taylor is taking in the experience at Missouri Western.

“It’s different,” he acknowledged. “I’ve been just loving it. I love being here and trying something new. I love it a lot.”

Accommodations can be made, however, for the 312-pound offensive tackle.

“I’ve got a Rent-a-Center bed,” Taylor revealed. “I’ve just got my iPad in there to watch film. It’s not bad.

“It’s a king bed. I’ve got a mattress pad put on it. So, it helps. I’ve been sleeping pretty good in there.”

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