When the Indianapolis Colts selected running back Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin with the No. 41 overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, everyone knew that they were getting a special talent.
Even though they didn’t “need” a running back, the Colts knew that passing him up would be a massive mistake. With how the 2020 season panned out, they are even more thankful that they chose to go ahead and take the former Badgers standout.
Marlon Mack, the team’s starting running back to begin the 2020 season, went down early in the year with a torn Achilles. That made the rookie running back the team’s new starting RB to begin his NFL career.
During his rookie season with the Colts after taking over the starting job early, Taylor put up big-time numbers. He carried the football 232 times for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers average out to an impressive 5.0 yards per carry.
In addition to his rushing production, Taylor caught 36 passes for 299 yards and another touchdown. His ability as a dual-threat running back is going to take him a long way in the NFL.
All of that being said, what does the future hold for Jonathan Taylor? We have a very bold prediction to make for him.
Jonathan Taylor Is The Next Superstar Running Back
This isn’t predicting that Taylor is going to be a top-three rushing running back again this season, although it certainly is possible. The Colts went ahead and re-signed Mack this offseason, which surprised most fans. However, we are saying that he is going to put up even bigger production than 2020 and will improve as a receiver in his second NFL season as well.
As we noted, he caught 36 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown. He has a great pair of hands and can break tackles, not to mention has breakaway speed in the open field. With Carson Wentz now under center in Indianapolis, the running game will open up even more and Wentz loves targeting his running backs out of the backfield as well.
Taylor is going to split some carries with Mack like we mentioned, but he is still going to be the workhorse. Indianapolis is going to give him the bulk of the load on the ground. Mack is going to play, but he will be more of a change of pace back that brings more pure speed to the field when he gets carries.
Jonathan Taylor had his footwork on display in Wisconsin's Pro Day🔥pic.twitter.com/njg3aZJcoR
— PFF College (@PFF_College) March 14, 2020
When currently looking at the landscape of running backs in the NFL, there are only a handful that stand out as elite. Among that group are Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, and Alvin Kamara. On the border of elite status are Aaron Jones, Ezekiel Elliott (although that could easily change back to being elite), and a couple of other names. Taylor ranked No. 3 in rushing yards in the league last season as a rookie.
Being able to be a top-three rusher as a rookie is an impressive feat in and of itself. He also finished tied for seventh in the league in rushing touchdowns with Antonio Gibson and Kyler Murray. The only running backs ahead of him on that list are Henry, Alvin Kamara, Cook, Nick Chubb and Josh Jacobs.
Looking at the statistics, Taylor could already be called a top-five running back heading into the 2021 season based on last year. We can’t give him those props yet, but another year of that kind of consistent production would vault him into superstar status.
Expect to see Jonathan Taylor come out strong once again this season. His rookie numbers were no fluke and he has been dominating in the backfield for a long time. That isn’t going to change anytime soon, and the NFL will have a new young superstar running back by the end of the 2021 season.