One of the most productive running backs in college football history, Wisconsin's Jonathan Taylor is likely to be an early-round pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. After piling up more than 6,000 rushing yards in just three seasons, Taylor is eager to prove that he can get the job done in the NFL as well. Workload and significant questions about his pass-catching abilities could impact how soon Taylor comes off of the board.
Jonathan Taylor Draft Profile
The production at the collegiate level can’t be ignored, especially because every opponent recognized and treated Taylor as the focal point of Wisconsin’s offense. He’s a big back with the ability to power his way through heavy traffic, but Taylor also shows the patience and vision to take full advantage of what his blockers create for him. He runs with excellent tempo for the wide-zone run game. He has enough wiggle and contact balance to slip the occasional tackle at the second level, and he shows the long speed to break off the big play. He’ll deliver a blow at the second level, finishing runs strong even if he doesn’t break loose. His stamina is excellent, as he consistently dominated late in games when opponents tired but he did not.
Taylor has major limitations in the passing game — Wisconsin didn’t use him as a receiver with any regularity until his junior year. He could improve with an increase in reps, but he did not look comfortable at all when catching the ball out of the backfield. Ball security was also an issue too often. Tread on the tire is a concern after 968 career touches at Wisconsin, especially since he tends to seek out contact rather than avoiding it.
He’ll appeal to teams looking for a tone-setting ground game, and the success of Derrick Henry plays in his favor. Unless Taylor makes an unlikely turnaround in the passing game, his appeal will be limited to the handful of teams built around the power running game. But he will likely be an early-down workhorse in the NFL, and one who can close down games.
Final Grade: 2nd round