Colts: 49ers star complimenting Jonathan Taylor shows Indy got a steal

The Indianapolis Colts are off to a slow 2-4 start as a team, but the play of running back Jonathan Taylor has been a bright spot. In his second season, Taylor has 472 rushing yards, 210 receiving yards and a combined five touchdowns after six games. He’s also has proved to be part of the winning formula as both of Indianapolis’ wins came when Taylor rushed for over 100 yards.

That most recent happened Sunday against the Houston Texans when Taylor had 14 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns in the Colts 31-3 win. The 145-yard outing only ranks third in Taylor’s young career, after having rushed for 150 and 253 yards in his rookie season.

That type of production from the former Wisconsin star should be no surprise after his storied college career with the Badgers. In just three collegiate seasons, Taylor rushed for 6,174 yards, fourth all-time in FBS history, 50 touchdowns, and added 407 yards and five touchdowns through the air.

Someone who noticed Taylor’s ability early in his college career was the linebacker that will be tasked with stopping him on Sunday Night Football. San Francisco 49ers star linebacker Fred Warner faced Taylor years ago.

Fred Warner praises Jonathan Taylor before Colts-49ers.

When Taylor and Warner faced off in college, Wisconsin beat BYU 40-6 and Taylor had 128 yards and one touchdown. When they face off Sunday Night, Taylor will be hoping for a similar outcome.

Warner, who entered the league two years before Taylor, is one of the best linebackers in football. Over the summer, he signed a contract that made him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL until Taylor’s teammate, Darius Leonard, signed a bigger contract a couple weeks later.

Contracts aside, Warner knew Taylor would be special after seeing what he was doing as a true freshman, and he raved about him all through the draft process. However, that didn’t stop Taylor from being the third running back taken when he slid into the second round being selected as pick No. 41. The running backs drafted ahead of him were Kansas City Chiefs’ Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Detroit Lions’ D’Andre Swift. Those guys can certainly hold their own, but they aren’t anywhere close to Taylor’s production.

What a steal for the Colts, who have a top running back in football in just his second NFL season. And there’s plenty more where that came from.