For the past three seasons, Badgers’ running back, Jonathan Taylor has been the best back in college football. Since 2017 he has averaged 2,058 rushing yards per season on 6.7 yards per carry. He also averaged about 17 rushing touchdowns per season. In 2019, Taylor even added a receiving element to his game that all NFL scouts want to see. In 2019, he caught 26 passes for 252 yards and 5 touchdowns. All of these numbers are great, but how well will they translate to the NFL game?
Last Friday, Jonathan Taylor declared himself into the 2020 NFL Draft. This begs the question, where will Wisconsin’s All-American running back be drafted?
First off, Jonathan Taylor has first round talent and will certainly play well wherever he is drafted but the NFL has changed. The running back position has changed. If this was 2010, Jonathan Taylor would most likely be a top five pick but in today’s NFL, running back’s are valued less and teams would rather draft an O-lineman or defensive cornerstone early in the draft. If Taylor does go in the first round, which would be doubtful, he could go somewhere in the 28-32 range to an established, competitive team like the Chiefs. Kansas City would be an ideal situation for Taylor to enter as he would become their number one back right out of the gate. None of Kansas City’s running backs eclipsed 500 yards this season and Taylor would provide them with the high volume back they need.
Although the first round is a stretch, anything can happen in the NFL Draft. However, the most likely spot Jonathan Taylor will be drafted is the middle of the second round or beginning of the third round. The two teams that have picks in those areas that jump off the page are the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins. First, the Falcons have their running back in Devonta Freeman but he has proven time and time again that he cannot stay on the field for 16 games. Also, since 2015 his total yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns have been at a steady decline. If Jonathan Taylor was drafted by the Falcons, it could give Atlanta the running back duo they had when Tevin Coleman was there and Freeman was at his best. Next, the Dolphins are a team that desperately need everything, especially playmakers. Taylor would give them a huge playmaker right off the get go. Out of every team in the NFL, Miami has the worst running back situation in the BY FAR. Quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, led the team in rushing yards last season with 243 yards. Let’s repeat that, RYAN FITZPATRICK, LED THE TEAM IN RUSHING YARDS. The Miami Dolphins desperately need a running back and should use one of their day two picks on Jonathan Taylor.
Out of the three teams listed above, if someone was going to bet, they should put their money on the Dolphins taking Jonathan Taylor in the early third round. This would be a steal for Miami considering he has first round talent and will be a guy who can rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie.