Here’s why Colts RB Jonathan Taylor will win Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Entering the 2020 NFL Draft, running back wasn’t considered much of a need for the Indianapolis Colts as they already rostered Marlon Mack, who was fresh off his first 1,000-yard season as a pro, as well as dynamic backups Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins.
However, that didn’t stop general manager Chris Ballard from jumping on the opportunity to nab Wisconsin stud Jonathan Taylor at No. 41 overall, the second of Indy’s two second-round selections. Though the pick did surprise a lot of people, it didn’t take long for fans to warm up to the prospect of the 21-year-old being the Colts’ running back of the future.
Not only are we buying into the hype, but we seriously wouldn’t be shocked if Taylor wins Offensive Rookie of the Year this season. Let’s highlight some variables that are working in his favor.
For starters, he put together a spectacular college career with the Badgers. Across three years in Madison, he finished second all time in Big Ten history with 6,174 rushing yards, which also ranks sixth in FBS history. Taylor also became the first player in FBS history to compile 6,000 yards on the ground in just three seasons and was twice named the nation’s best running back.
Outside of the SEC, the Big Ten is perhaps the most cutthroat conference in college football, so Taylor shouldn’t have much of a problem adjusting to the speed and physicality of the NFL. Did we mention that he will be running behind the Colts offensive line, which is easily one of the best in the league? That’s a big plus.
You might say that Taylor could struggle to earn a health number of touches, but Indianapolis could look to trade Mack, who, despite starting the last two seasons, is entering a contract year. The Colts didn’t unload two draft picks (No. 44 and No. 160) for the Wisconsin star to have him ride the bench as a rookie.
Even if Mack sticks around, we see the young stud carving out 10-15 touches (at least) per game). In theory, that should be enough of a workload for Taylor to absolutely pad the stat sheet as a rookie in 2020 given his past success in a defense-heavy conference.