Colts confident in Jonathan Taylor’s three-down abilities

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images /
Jonathan Taylor 2020 NFL Draft
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images /

The Indianapolis Colts are confident in Jonathan Taylor’s three-down abilities

The Indianapolis Colts didn’t have a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but they still managed to get many of the top targets on their board.

The Colts didn’t have a first-round pick after trading number 13 overall to the San Francisco 49ers for defensive lineman DeForest Buckner.

Heading into the early stages of the 2020 offseason, most analysts in the NFL and NFL Draft community felt the Colts’ top pick would be spent on either a quarterback, defensive lineman, or wide receiver.

Already armed with two second-round picks thanks to a 2019 trade with the Washington Redskins, the Colts had some flexibility in the draft, but their huge cap space also allowed the Colts to make moves to get in position to not have a first-round pick in the 2020 draft and still make tremendous value selections.

The Colts signed veteran quarterback Philip Rivers to a one-year contract, made the trade for Buckner (and re-signed him to a massive deal), and got to work on building their 2020 draft class.

Jonathan Taylor a huge 2nd-round value

In this interview with Colin Cowherd, Colts GM Chris Ballard points out that his team was able to come away with more than a couple of their top targets in this draft class, including USC wide receiver Michael Pittman and Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor in the second round.

Taylor is the latest in a long line of tremendous Wisconsin running backs entering the NFL, but his career with the Badgers was one of the most impressive in college football history.

In three seasons at Wisconsin, Taylor ran for over 6,100 yards, an average of over 2,000 yards per season.

He actually eclipsed 2,000 yards in each of the past two seasons but had 1,977 yards as a freshman in 2017.

Everyone knows Taylor with his 5-foot-10, 226-pound frame can run the ball as a featured back, but the big question has been his ability to make an impact as a receiver.

Ballard notes in that interview with Colin Cowherd that the Colts are confident in his ability to make an impact on all three downs.

After catching 16 passes total in his first two seasons at Wisconsin, he caught 26 passes with five touchdowns in his final season at Wisconsin. As Ballard notes, the majority of a running back’s receiving duties will be swing passes and screen passes, so what’s there really to worry about with Taylor?

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The Colts’ offense got substantially better in the 2020 offseason. Taylor is joining a team uniquely equipped at the NFL level to give him a somewhat comparable level of dominance up front on the offensive line as he had in college. The Colts have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and as Taylor is called upon in the passing game more, he could really emerge from this class as one of the more underrated pickups.