Colts: Projecting Jonathan Taylor’s sophomore stats after momentous 2020

Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts had an extremely disappointing end to their season, as they were bested by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the playoffs after failing to capitalize on multiple opportunities to take the game by the scruff of its neck.

The weeks leading up to that matchup, however, were absolutely enthralling.

If you recall, the Colts finished 6-2 over their last eight games to squeak into the playoffs.

Their second half collapse against Pittsburgh in Week 16 almost derailed that quest, but we’ve already spent enough time discussing that loss.

It goes without saying that rookie Jonathan Taylor was Indy’s most important player during that stretch, as he averaged 117 rushing yards per game on 5.71 yards per carry to go with nine touchdowns. That hot streak was highlighted by the 2020 second-round pick setting the Colts’ franchise record for rushing yards (253) by a rookie in the regular season finale.

Taking those ridiculous numbers into consideration, chances are that fans will set lofty expectations for Taylor entering Year 2.

To make their lives easier, let’s attempt to project the numbers they should be anticipating the Wisconsin product to post in his sophomore season.

What will Colts RB Jonathan Taylor provide statistically in 2021?

Before we can guesstimate Taylor’s production in 2021, we first must have a full scope of the numbers he logged as a rookie. Across 15 games, he took 232 carries for 1,169 yards (5.0 YPC) and 11 touchdowns, adding 36 receptions for 299 yards and an additional score as a receiver.

Given how much Taylor struggled in the first half of the season and that he was virtually unstoppable over the final eight games, we like to think that there’s a happy medium he’ll fall under in terms of consistency.

However, the end stat product in Year 2 might be something similar to what we saw in his debut campaign. After all, the 22-year-old stud finished third in the league in rushing, tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns, ninth in total carries and 10th in yards per attempt. Those are impressive finishes for a rookie, and it won’t be easy for him to replicate that success as a sophomore.

Assuming Taylor takes on a bigger role on the offense, we’re probably looking at something like 260 carries for 1,323 yards (5.08 YPC) and 10 TDs. If the likes of Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook come back down to earth next season — they combined to log 3,584 (!) rushing yards — these numbers should give Taylor a legitimate shot at the rushing title.

That’s a phenomenal season by every metric, and fans in Indianapolis should be ecstatic if Taylor manages to one-up his electric rookie campaign.

Considering how many touches he figures to receive on a weekly basis, it’s definitely in the cards.