With the 41st pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Colts select Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor Career Statistics

YearAgeRuAttTm%RuYdTeam %RuTDRecReYdReTDYd/Tch

No running back in this class has a more decorated career usage background that Taylor does. He handled 968 touches over three seasons at Wisconsin for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage in all three years. While Taylor was at Wisconsin from 2017-2019, he had 1,715 more rushing yards than the next highest player in college football over that span.

While the touch count is high, there is really no need to have that factor in as a concern. On a per-game level, Taylor’s 23.6 touches per game in college were fewer than Adrian Peterson (24.9) and Ray Rice (24.9) handled per game while his career touch count is below that of LaDainian Tomlinson (986), Michael Turner (983), DeAngelo Williams (1,039), and David Johnson (1,007) to name a few successful high-volume backs in college. 

From a physical stance, Taylor went out and crushed at Indianapolis. Given his production resume, there is no need to double count everything, but he checked all boxes with a 97th percentile physical score. If you were building a running back in a lab, he would look like Taylor. 

The only remaining blemish for Taylor is will he catch a ton of passes in the NFL or fall into a Derrick Henry-esque type of a role within an offense. Taylor improved last season, catching 26 passes after just 16 through two seasons. That was good for 10.6% of his team’s receptions, which ranked 10th among all 30 backs invited to the combine. But his usage in that area at the next level is still to be determined as Pro Football Focus credited him with eight career drops on 50 catchable passes. He also had some fumbling issues, credited with 18 fumbles (15 lost) over his collegiate career.

The Colts did not have an immediate need for a running back in 2020. Marlon Mack has had 1,011 and 1,173 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two seasons, but Mack has also missed multiple games in each of his first three seasons. He also enters 2020 on the final season of his rookie contract. Behind him, the Colts have a pair of 2018 draft picks in Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. 

Taylor is a limited pas protector (33 snaps in protection last season), but a power-runner that immediately lands behind a line that was 12th in the league in adjusted line yards created a year ago. Taylor and Mack will project to share opportunities in 2020 while Mack should be expected to let leave via free agency after the season.