When the Colts moved up in the draft to get Jonathan Taylor, it did not make much sense. The Colts already have Marlon Mack who ran for over 1,000 yards last year and was looking to be the running back of the Colts. So why would they draft a new star running back? What is interesting about the pick is that they moved up passed their division rivals, the Jaguars, in the draft when they picked him. One can speculate that they just did not want the Jaguars to get their hands on him. But it really looks like the Colts just wanted Taylor. They seem to be going for a 3-down back that can take the majority of the weight in the run game. What we will see this year with Mack in the final year of his rookie contract is up in the air still, but the drafting of Taylor makes it appear that Taylor will be getting the majority of a split load in the Colts’ backfield with a lot of work ahead of him. Several sources say that Taylor will be the starter in Indianapolis which is why Taylor is being drafted ahead of Mack. As we approach closer to the hopeful season, we will see for sure what the Colts’ plan is with Taylor and Mack moving forward.
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Jonathan Taylor was drafted out of Wisconsin in which he completely dominated everywhere. All three seasons, he surpassed 2,000 yards from scrimmage. His 2019 numbers are completely insane. His career-high 2,255 yards of offense combined with 26 touchdowns is nothing easy to accomplish. When looking at some of the other running backs to pull off such a feat, you see some of the best NFL running backs to ever play the game and some currently playing. He sits at 17th (2019) and 18th (2018) for the most single-season yards from scrimmage in college football. When you think of a workhorse back, Taylor is the guy. It appears that is what the Colts want in their offense.
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For this year, I would expect more of a split with Mack than what Taylor will be seeing down the road, yet that is no reason to not go for Taylor. He is the clear back that the Colts will be leading with. The Colts have a nice schedule for running backs which should give him plenty of opportunities to break out. Many experts have him around 900 rushing yards on the season which is fully possible for a player of Taylor’s caliber. I would project to see Taylor around 200 touches this year and be a dominant part of the Colts’ offense. Do not shy away from Taylor this year.
PFF predicts Jonathan Taylor as lead back over Marlon Mack https://t.co/6WAYi0kafZ
— TheColtsWire (@TheColtsWire) July 9, 2020
Auction Value: $13
Taylor’s ADP keeps rising over time as we approach the draft. The realization of what Taylor will be in the Colts’ offense becomes more and more apparent. The Colts want a 3-down back to carry their offense and Taylor fits the picture. He has the ability to power through a defense while also going out for a pass and making big plays. The only thing holding him back from being even farther ahead is the presence of Mack who also has shown he has the ability to rush for over 1,000 yards. The Colts seem to have moved on passed Mack with the drafting of Taylor which shows which direction they are headed and that direction is highlighted with Taylor’s name. Do not be afraid to “reach” for Taylor as he will be worth it in the long run.
With the Colts’ offensive line being so stacked and Taylor being the explosive runner he is, I would expect a lot of run plays from the Colts. They have been building towards this type of offense fit for a player like Taylor. He will receive around 200 touches if not more which is where I would put his floor around. His floor appears to be low-end RB2 with a ton of upside. While there are “safer” picks around when Taylor is being picked normally, no other backs around him have the upside he has. He will give you a lot of points while having room to grow.
He could emerge as an RB1 without any changes happening to the offense. He has his own path to success which brings additional value to him. While Mack is currently set to split with Taylor, it is hard to imagine the Colts using Mack very much when Taylor gets set. They will quickly get on the Taylor train when he gets going and has the ability to absolutely explode in the NFL. He has 1,000+ rushing yards written all over him. He also has the toughness to be a red zone back and squeeze into the endzone. He could easily join the elite running backs like what Saquon Barkley was able to do.
Indianapolis Colts Offense
The Colts are now working with Philip Rivers who is a major upgrade from Jacoby Brissett. Rivers has shown that he can move the offense with a solid running back to his side. Melvin Gordon became an all-around elite running back while with Rivers. I see Taylor emerging the same way as Gordon did. They also drafted Michael Pittman Jr. to help in the receiving game with TY Hilton. The Colts’ offense is looking like a force to be reckoned with several targets all over the field to keep the ball moving. Likely, Taylor will be there to help finish out many drives while getting his fair share of opportunities to contribute with moving the ball as well.
Jonathan Taylor will be running behind the NFL's best offensive line
See where all 32 teams rank ⬇️⬇️ https://t.co/0iSzz5SdEq
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 6, 2020
Strength of Schedule
I mentioned earlier that the Colts have a favorable schedule for their running backs. In fact, they have the 2nd easiest schedule for running backs. The Bengals were the worst against the run last year which is the Colts’ sixth game. The game before that is against the Browns who were the 3rd worst. The Jaguars were the 5th worst and they play the Colts twice as divisional rivals. There are a ton of matchups that will be favorable for Taylor throughout the season. All this is to say that Taylor looks to have everything on his side moving into the season.
At the end of the day, Taylor should be worth a lot where he is currently going. He has tons of weapons playing around him with a schedule that favors him. Not to mention that he just has the skill and ability to be an absolute madman on the field. While college stats do not always translate to NFL success, Taylor has the build to fit right into the system. He will soon emerge as the 3-down back that the Colts are looking for. His ability on the ground and through the air will only give him additional value and it would be crazy to avoid a player like this just because of Mack. He will be moved out of the picture soon or else the Colts would not have moved up in the draft to grab Taylor.
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