NFL draft prospects that take full advantage of the all-star circuit are well-positioned to be rewarded in April. Florida offensive tackle Jean Delance is one of those players in the 2022 draft class after a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl. Delance showcased his abilities as a pass protector while highlighting his length and lightning-quick feet. Delance enjoyed an excellent 2021 campaign while making 13 starts for the Gators at right tackle. Delance recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network regarding his experience at the East-West Shrine Game, which NFL teams showed interest in securing his services throughout the week, the stark transitions involved while playing in Florida's offense, his notable charitable efforts, and so much more. JM: You had a really strong week at the East-West Shrine Bowl. How do you feel the week went? JD: I feel like I had a great week. I showed a lot of scouts and NFL decision-makers what I’m capable of in both pass protection and as a run blocker. I went out there and played and practiced with a physical edge. I feel like it was a very strong week and showcase for me. JM: I want to expand on that a little. What impression did you leave on the scouts in attendance? JD: I think I proved that I’m a hard worker with an aggressive edge. I like to finish plays as an offensive lineman. I honestly love playing the game with a mean streak. That’s how the position is meant to be played. I think I handled the process very well. A lot of teams are looking for tough-natured offensive linemen. JM: The East-West Shrine week gave you a chance to get in front of all 32 teams. Did you have any productive team meetings? JD: I believe I met with more than 25 teams throughout the week. I had a lot of different conversations and productive discussions. We had a lot of formal and informal interviews. I’m looking forward to expanding on those discussions throughout this process. It went great. JM: Did you have great conversations with any teams in particular? JD: The San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles especially stood out. JM: You made 12 starts at right tackle for the Gators in 2021. It was a great season for you. Florida had a lot of success running the ball and you were a big part of that. How do you reflect on your final season at Florida? JD: Our season didn’t go exactly as we planned or hoped. I felt like we really did a great job in some areas. As an offensive line, we barely allowed any sacks all season long. We ran the ball at an extremely efficient rate and perfected our craft as a run-blocking unit. We had a ton of success running the ball. I think we did a great job of establishing that identity this year. JM: How did playing in that Florida offense and scheme help prepare you for the next level? JD: We ran a pro-style offense. It was an excellent experience and showcase for me. In 2020, we had a traditional pocket quarterback in Kyle Trask. He was slinging the ball to the different weapons we had throughout that season. In 2021, we ran a lot more speed options with more of a dual-threat guy like Emory Jones under center. We had an athletic quarterback that could run around and extend the pocket. Blocking for quarterbacks like Trask and Jones couldn’t be any more different, and I’m so thankful I played through both of those experiences. It molded me into a more versatile offensive lineman. I’ve blocked for and played with every type of quarterback. Jones could run around and cover 15-plus yards while extending the play. We had to be prepared for that. It was a very helpful experience for me. It gave me a different viewpoint of the game in general. JM: You played through a big offensive transition following the departures of Trask, Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Pitts. It certainly made you a more prepared prospect at this point. JD: It literally expanded my game. I’m capable of so much more now because I went through those experiences. My knowledge of the game is much improved. I played with different types of quarterbacks from a stylistic perspective. You never know what Emory Jones might do on any given snap. Whichever quarterback I end up blocking for at the next level, I can relate to my experiences at Florida. It’s a next-man-up type of league. NFL teams have different types of quarterbacks on their roster and as an offensive linemen, you have to prepare for all scenarios. It gave me a feel for how to block for a traditional pocket passing quarterback like Trask, and also how to block for a quarterback that runs around like Lamar Jackson (laughs). I’m very appreciative to have played my role in all of those environments. JM: You showed a lot of versatility throughout your time at Florida. You even played some guard throughout the early portion of your career. How are those positions different? How do those experiences serve you well at the next level? JD: Playing guard can be a lot more physical. The point of attack also occurs in quicker fashion than it does at tackle. At offensive tackle, being athletic certainly carries more importance. Length and good, quick feet matter more at tackle. Those edge rushers have more time to prepare and think about their next pass-rushing move. You get to be a bit more hands-on while playing in the interior. Guard takes more physicality. Having that length and arm extension is so important on the outside. I’m thankful that I have length and quick feet. Edge rushers can hit you with speed, a cross-chop, power, long-arm, ghost rushes, spin moves, euro steps, and so much more. It extends their rushing plan a bit and you have to be more athletic to handle everything they’re throwing at you. You have to be a technician on that island. Playing tackle takes a bit more patience than guard does. You have to be ready for a battle at the point of attack at guard. JM: That’s an excellent and thorough answer. Playing at Florida afforded you an opportunity to play against some of the best pass rushers in the nation. JD: I played against guys like Will Anderson and Nolan Smith at Alabama and Georgia. Those two programs are always loaded with quality pass rushers. I thought Josh Paschal from Kentucky was an excellent player. Those three guys immediately come to mind. We see the best of the best week in, week out. I’ve played against so many current and future NFL pass rushers. JM: I have to quickly commend your off-field efforts. You volunteer your time at the Boys and Girls Club in Austin, Texas, which is near your hometown of Mesquite. You’ve donated toys to the Dell Children’s Medical Center. Why are these initiatives important to you? JD: It brings me joy. It represents the other side of being an athlete. I enjoy making a positive impact on others off the field. I’m more than just an athlete and football player. Doing those things provides me a different outlet to reach the kids and better their lives. It’s honestly just about being a good person at the end of the day. It’s about gaining perspective outside of football. We’re human beings at the end of the day. A lot of people don’t fully realize that. I like to do things that give back and cheer people up. I’ve done charitable things that nobody knows about and I intend to keep it that way. It’s about being a good person when the public isn’t paying attention as well. I try to be a good person and I try to promote good character. It’s something I’ll continue to do in the future. JM: We love hearing that. I can’t think of a better note to bring this conversation to a close. I’ve really appreciated your time today. What kind of impact is Jean Delance going to make at the next level? JD: I’m coming in ready to play a versatile role as a swing player that can handle playing multiple positions across the offensive line. I possess the ability to develop into a starter. I’m aiming to have an excellent professional career that lasts a long time.
- Sep 24, 2023
- Sep 22, 2023