Two-time All-American beloved Wisconsin Badger running back Jonathan Taylor announced via Instagram and Twitter he is forgoing his senior season and taking a leap of faith towards his NFL dreams. Listed at 5-foot-11-inches, Taylor is the No. 3 ranked running back according to ESPN’s NFL draft insiders.
Finishing second on Wisconsin’s all-time rushing yardage list only behind the legendary Ron Dayne, Taylor finished his junior campaign with 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns on 320 carries. Taylor’s monstrous season resulted in his second Doak Walker Award for best college football running back in his three seasons as the starting back for the Badgers.
A proven pass blocker, Taylor went into the 2019 season with questions as to how versatile he is in the passing game. After Taylor responded to those questions by tripling his reception total from eight in 2018 to 26 this season, totaling five touchdowns and 262 yards. With his great all-around season, Taylor proved he could do it all and become a day-one starter in the NFL.
The Pinstripe Bowl MVP looks to be the first Wisconsin running back drafted since Melvin Gordon in 2015, joining the likes of several former Badger running backs who play major roles within their team’s offense.
Similar to Melvin Gordon, Jonathan Taylor’s premier skills are his acceleration in the second level of the defense and his ability to be a powerful workhorse running back. Often referred to as a “bell-cow back,” his rare size and power allow for Taylor to translate smoothly into the NFL style and speed of play.
The biggest issue for Taylor, according to many experts, is his trouble with ball security. With 18 fumbles in 41 career games, including a fumble during the Rose Bowl, it is no secret fumbling has been a key issue with his game.
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The verdict is still out on where in the draft Taylor will get taken, but experts have all but guaranteed Taylor to be a pick within the first three rounds, fitting in with a team in need of a power running back. Due to his power, speed, and versatility in the pass game, Jonathan Taylor can easily be compared to Arian Foster and Saquon Barkley, both backs with similar sizes and attributes.
Make sure to watch for Taylor as he gears up for the next chapter of his career. The NFL Combine goes from Feb. 23-March 3 and his pro-day date has yet to be announced. As the draft in April slowly approaches, keep an eye out for the many different NFL mock drafts to see where experts think Taylor will get drafted.