Byron Jewell | April 22nd, 2020
Jonathan Taylor, RB, #23
Weight: 226 pounds
Taylor is really exciting back who was super productive in college and could be the first running back selected in this years draft.
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Speed: 10/10 – There are not many players that weigh 220+ pounds and can run a 4.39 40 yard dash like Taylor did at the combine. His second gear is unmatched in the open field leaving second and third-level defenders stuck in mud behind him. A true homerun threat, Taylor is one of just two backs in the last seven Combines to run a sub-4.5 at 225 pounds or more. The other? Saquon Barkley.
Power: 9/10 – Taylor is a bulldozer who loves seeking contact. He has a low center of gravity which allows him to always keep his legs moving through contact from defenders. Just a bowling ball running downhill and almost always breaks the first initial tackle. His power will help keep him on the field for all three downs in the league.
Elusiveness: 8/10 – Pretty good short area burst here. A combo of his size and athleticism makes him a rare back with his ability to make jump cuts and take off. Has good flexibility to help avoid tackles, but needs a little work making guys miss in the second-third level, that doesn’t include just his speed. It is good enough where this shouldn’t be a problem at all.
Receiving: 6.5/10 – Catching just 16 total passes his first two years of college, Taylor realized he needed to work on that part of his game to be more successful at the next level. He caught 26 passes last season and showed a lot of improvement. His hands are soft but his route running needs some work. He’s best at running the flats and making plays from there for now.
Vision: 9.5/10 – Very calm and understanding in this department. He played behind an elite offensive line at Wisconsin, and he understood blocking concepts. Waits for the play and hole to develop and then takes off. He knows where there are soft spots in the second and third levels as well which helps him pick a lane and never look back. Good timing and patience can go a long way here.
Athleticism: 9.5/10 – I’ve mentioned already that he has elite speed, let alone at his size. Could use a little help with his lateral agility, but definitely nothing to be concerned about. Taylor was the fastest back at the combine, has excellent play strength, with an uber explosiveness ability. Athleticism is one of Taylor’s best traits.
Balance: 9/10 – Can absorb contact in a terrific manner. He can brush off hits or tackles with no problem due to his lower center of gravity. Keeps his legs always moving through contact and with his power and strong feet, he can recover very quickly. He likes to use his off arm to keep him stabilized against defenders and keeps him firm in open space.
Jonathon Taylor is an impressive RB. He’s behind a great OL, but make no mistake, he creates a ton of yards for himself. Fantastic contact balance. pic.twitter.com/2DmPqkWwVq— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) May 3, 2019
Pass Protection: 7/10 – Doesn’t have a ton of experience in this department, which is why I’m keeping it a lower score. But, he shows great effort here and is very physical. He likes to step into blitzes and really help his quarterback out.
IQ: 9/10 – Got coached well at Wisconsin. He has a great understanding of how plays develop, where defenders will be, where his hole in the line to attack will be and knows if he needs to work on something if it’s negatively hurting him. Taylor really trusts his teammates and blockers and showed the smarts to improve in his pass-catching.
Ball Protection: 6.5/10 – This is the biggest knock on Taylor right now, besides him being a workhorse at the college level. He had 18 fumbles in 41 career games; clearly not good. He got a lot of carries, so it’s a little more understandable, but his natural instinct to fight for more yards cost him sometimes. He gets a little loose with the ball trying to create a big play and just needs to do a better job using two hands on some plays. It should be better in the NFL with a lighter workload but still something that needs to be addressed.
NFL Comparison: Nick Chubb
Draft Projection: Early-Mid second-round
Best Team Fits: Buccaneers, Steelers, Dolphins
Taylor was one of the more productive backs in college football. A three-year starter at Wisconsin, he carried the ball over 900 times and was a true workhorse. His college workload could be a problem for Taylor to have a longer career, but all them carries will help him be more ready for the NFL right away. His a rare combination of size, strength, and speed which will pay him dividends and should help him start right away.
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