It’s that time of year to engage in daily draft strategy scenarios and player selections for your favorite team.
Because the Indianapolis Colts do not have their first pick until the second day of the draft (34th overall pick), the draft questions become even more plentiful.
Will the Colts trade up to the 1st round?
Will the team take a surprise pick that falls down the draft board on the first day?
What position should be filled with the 2nd round pick?
One name that could be of interest to the Colts is Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor.
Let’s take a look at Taylor and his potential fit with the team.
In his 3 years at Wisconsin, he has been a workhorse with 968 carries.
His most impressive season was 2019 when he rushed for 21 TDs and caught 5 TD passes.
Winner of 3 Big Ten rushing titles, he is a sturdy back, measuring 5’10” and weighing 220 lbs.
He is a 3-down back that can be used in any situation.
When he gets into the open field, he kicks it into another gear making him virtually unstoppable.
He averages 70 broken tackles each season.
A member of the Badger track team, Taylor is a rare two-sport Division I athlete.
His track experience helped him run a dazzling 4.41 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine.
Jonathan Taylor making the turf burn with a 4.41u 40-yard dash 🔥
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 29, 2020
Too Much Wear and Tear
While the Wisconsin stats showcase his abilities, it may also cause hesitation among NFL GMs.
He is a very physical runner with a lot of mileage already on his tires.
Can his body withstand the rigors of a 16 game season in 2020 and 17 game seasons in subsequent years?
Some argue that longevity is not as big of a concern in the NFL as it once was.
With over 900 career touches, the wear and tear on Jonathan Taylor has been brought up in conversations about his draft stock.
I'd be shocked if any teams care. If you get 4 good years out of him, it was a good pick. No need to worry until its time to discuss as extension
— Ryan McCrystal (@Ryan_McCrystal) March 5, 2020
He is a patient RB that has the ability to make something out of nothing; he has averaged over 1,300 yards after contact each season.
It is not his style to duck out of bounds; he keeps pushing forward.
Taylor has been compared to 8 year NFL veteran Arian Foster.
Areas to Improve
Ball control is sometimes an issue as he had 15 fumbles in his UW career.
He showed inconsistency in the pass game with 8 dropped passes out of 50 catchable targets.
These negatives could be converted to positives as Taylor has demonstrated a good attitude and is very coachable.
Fit with Colts
Marlon Mack is the undisputed starting RB for the Colts in 2020.
He racked up a 1000+ yard season in 2019 despite fracturing his hand and missing 2 games.
If Taylor is drafted, he will not get his usual amount of carries.
Can he adjust to a reduced workload?
Pro Football Focus had this to say about Taylor’s fit with the Colts:
“Taylor was born to run behind the Colts’ dominant run-blocking offensive line. Give him a full head of steam, and he drags people. He averaged over 1,300 yards after contact per season at Wisconsin.”
Would special teams be a possibility for Taylor to sink his teeth if selected by the Colts?
Would the Colts consider a running back by committee strategy to give Mack and Taylor both an adequate number of reps?
There are more questions than answers.
What we do know is that Taylor had an impressive college career.
Will it translate into a similar result in the NFL?
That is the question that all draft picks have to grapple with.