The Colts traded their 44th overall pick to the Browns to move up three spots to 41st. There, they selected RB Jonathan Taylor. Another steal of a pick by Chris Ballard, Taylor was easily regarded as one of the best backs in the draft and a first-round prospect. He didn’t wait long, however, as the Colts took the best player available with Taylor. He was one of college football’s best running backs during his three seasons with the Badgers. Just take a look at his accolades.
- Two-time Doak Walker Award winner (given to the top running back in college football)
- Two-time unanimous first-team All-American
- Two-time Big Ten Running Back of the Year
- Three-time consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection
His production during his college career was simply incredible. He rushed for 6,147 yards, which ranks 6th all-time in FBS history. He is the 7th player in FBS history to rush for over 6,000 yards and the first to do so in only 3 seasons.
He’s also the only player in FBS history to rush for over 1,900 yards in three consecutive seasons. To cap it all off, his rushing totals for his freshman and sophomore seasons stand as the most rushing yards gained by someone in the respective classes in FBS history. (all via UW).
I can go on about his incredible production all day, but let’s get into some specifics. Taylor’s combination of speed and strength made him one of college football’s best. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at 223 pounds, which is absolutely incredible. His breakaway speed at the second level and ability to break tackles gives him a run game that is extremely hard to stop.
The concerns that line up with Taylor, however, are his receiving skills and his ball-carrying. Taylor produced 50 rushing touchdowns to only 5 receiving ones in his college career. It makes him a very one-dimensional back as a whole and needs to be something he improves on as he transitions to the NFL. The same goes for his ball-carrying; his 18 fumbles in 3 seasons are a major concern, especially during his switch to the pros.
2020 Colts Projection:
In terms of his fit in Indianapolis, that’s a toss-up for now. Taylor’s ability as a runner outweighs the current group in Indianapolis. Marlon Mack is the #1 back and will most likely share carries with Taylor on first and second down. Taylor’s inability to be a reliable pass-catcher does hurt his stock, however, as both Mack and Nyheim Hines are better receivers than the Wisconsin standout is.
Mack is on the last year of his rookie contract, however, and there haven’t been any reports of him being extended as of now. It’s possible that Taylor will take over if he plays well enough in 2020 and stays healthy, something that Mack has severely struggled with throughout his career.
Rookie Projection: 120 CAR, 650 YD, 5 TD, 7 REC, 90 YD, 2 TD