The Indianapolis Colts might have acquired Carson Wentz this offseason to bolster their passing game, but don’t let that make you forget this is a run-first offense.
Sure, Jonathan Taylor struggled out of the gates as a rookie in 2020, but that can largely be attributed to him being thrust into the starting role earlier than expected.
If you remember, the Colts were set on starting Marlon Mack (understandably so) with Taylor being mixed in on third downs. Of course, that plan was scrapped after Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on just his seventh touch of the year.
It was tough to see Taylor struggle to find his footing, but he eventually hit his stride and was arguably the best RB in the league in the second half of 2020.
That got us thinking about Taylor’s chances to earn his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021. If you ask Marc Sessler of NFL.com, the Wisconsin product has an excellent chance.
How realistic is it that Colts RB Jonathan Taylor makes the Pro Bowl in 2021?
In the article, Sessler made a great point in saying that Taylor will have some stiff competition standing in the way of his Pro Bowl hopes. After all, those rosters only carry two running backs, and Derrick Henry (Titans) and Nick Chubb (Browns) hail in the AFC.
Henry, of course, is the two-time defending rushing champ. The former second-rounder eclipsed the elusive 2,000-yard threshold last year, and, as much as we dislike the Titans, we’re hard-pressed to bet against him repeating that feat next season.
Chubb, meanwhile, is one of the best RBs in the league. Despite missing four games due to injury, the Browns star finished seventh in rushing yards last year. That might be surprising to some, but his 5.6 yards per carry tells you all you need to know about that.
You also can’t rule out one of Joe Mixon, Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs or even Chiefs standout Clyde Edwards-Helaire as potential Pro Bowl candidates in the AFC. However, it still goes without saying that Taylor should be the third favorite behind Henry and Chubb.
Though Taylor finishing third in the NFL in rushing was a phenomenal feat for a rookie, his debut campaign was more impressive than you think, as he became just the fifth rookie since 2001 to tally over 1,000 rushing yards, at least 5.0 yards per carry, and 10 rushing TDs.
Care to guess who the others were? Clinton Portis, Adrian Peterson, Ezekiel Elliot and Saquon Barkley. So yeah, Taylor is on an outstanding trajectory and is in a great position to be selected to his first career Pro Bowl as a sophomore in 2021.
The Pro Bowl has obviously lost some of its charm in recent years, as it’s more known for egregious snubs than honoring worthy players. But still, Taylor making it in a loaded AFC as far as running backs are concerned would be a tremendous achievement.