Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Forecast
As one of the top rookie running backs in the 2020 NFL Draft, many fantasy analysts and owners were shocked that Jonathan Taylor was not the first running back off the board. With the ninth pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Colts snagged the former Wisconsin Badger and extremely productive running back. With 18 running backs selected in this draft, Taylor fell to the Indianapolis Colts as the third running back to get drafted. The Colts clearly liked him enough, as they traded up in the draft to take Taylor with the 41st pick in the draft. While he may not have been the first running back off the board, Taylor comes with a very nice set of skills that will make him one of the best running backs in this 2020 class.
Marlon Mack is coming off a 1,000-yard season and may very well open up the season as the starter. That being said, when you’re talking about skill and pedigree, the two really aren’t comparable. Taylor is a very efficient runner between the tackles and has shown that he’s capable in the passing game as well. The Colts haven’t had a real workhorse running back to lean on, and really the production we saw from Mack I believe was more of a product of a great offensive line. Nyheim Hines is viable in the passing game and will likely have a small role moving forward, but he shouldn’t get enough touches to make Taylor owners nervous. The Colts also haven’t shown they’re fully invested in Mack either, and after trading up to get arguably the best running back in the class, Taylor comes into a very appealing situation for immediate production as well as long-term upside.
If you’re drafting your redraft teams, Taylor may very well end up being a third or fourth-round pick, and someone that has RB1 upside. It will be worth keeping an eye on the news surrounding this backfield between now and pre-season and don’t be surprised when the Colts talk about Taylor being the starter. For your dynasty rookie drafts, Taylor is going to be either the first or second player off the board, in your 1QB leagues. In Superflex leagues, there still might be some owners that will take Taylor first overall. It will be between Taylor and Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the 1.01 spot in most dynasty rookie drafts, and rightfully so. Both have a clear path to success, but if you’re looking for upside, I believe that Taylor has the skillset, opportunity, and offensive line in front of him to be an elite fantasy running back in the near future.
Quick Link: Dynasty Rookie Rankings – check out Jonathan Taylor’s fantasy value in our 2020 rookie rankings
Jonathan Taylor Pre-Draft Profile
The former Wisconsin Badger, Jonathan Taylor, is currently the most popular name in this rookie class for dynasty football. After putting up an excellent NFL Combine performance, his price has gone up and is the consensus 1.01 in most any dynasty football drafts that you’ve seen mocked and the number one running back off the board in most NFL mock drafts.
- 226 lbs.
- Age: 21
Taylor’s two-year rushing total, behind other former Badger Melvin Gordon, was good for the third-best in NCAA history. He’s also the first player in NCAA history to put up two 1,900+ rushing yard seasons in his first two seasons in college.
NFL Combine Recap
- 40 Yard Dash: 4.39
- Bench Press: 17
- Vertical Jump: 36″
- Broad Jump: 123″
- 3 Cone Drill: 7.01
- 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.24
Taylor put up an extremely impressive Combine performance, especially for someone of his size. His 7.01 3 Cone Drill ties Terry McLaurin’s performance a year ago. Anything under 7 seconds flat is very good for anyone in the NFL. His Speed Score was in the 99th percentile according to Player Profiler and his 40-Yard Dash is in the 98th percentile. His player comparison on Player Profiler is also Ezekiel Elliott, just in case you want to get even more excited.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Taylor is an extremely well-rounded prospect and if you’ve followed college football at all, you’re well aware of just how productive he’s been. He is a bigger, north-south runner who runs great between the tackles. His vision is impressive, he’s got great speed, and definitely has the potential and skill set to be a three-down back in the NFL. If you’re looking for holes in his rushing game, they’re tough to find. Taylor is the complete package when it comes to his size, speed, and overall skill set. As someone who focuses primarily on dynasty football, Taylor looks like the safest option in this class to be successful in the NFL. He may not have the upside of someone like D’Andre Swift, but Taylor is looking like the safest running back prospect in this class.
One thing that is a fairly popular concern surrounding Taylor is the miles that he’s got on him. Personally, I’m not as concerned, as a typically play dynasty football with a three-year window mindset, to begin with. It’s definitely worth noting as you’re evaluating rookies, and Taylor has totaled 300+ touches in his three years at Wisconsin. He also played at Wisconsin, which has one of the best offensive lines year in and year out.
He’s also not been overly involved in the passing game during his college career, which is something I’m more concerned about than his mileage. In his first two seasons, he caught 8 passes in each season and had zero receiving touchdowns. Last year, he got more involved and totaled 26 receptions for 252 yards and 5 receiving touchdowns. The passing game is an area that he’ll need to improve on and anymore in the NFL, I really want to see productive receiving totals and a good amount of involvement in the passing game.
Best Fit: NFL Scheme
For Taylor, honestly, the only thing I’m hoping for is that he lands in an offense that needs a starting running back. As long as he doesn’t get stuck behind a team with a stud running back, he’ll compete for the starting job immediately. He’s not the type of guy that’s going to come in on third downs and compliment a stud running back. Taylor is the guy that you want on the field more often than not, and there are a few teams with solid complementary backs, but not so much that stud, starting running back. Miami, Houston, Indianapolis, and Atlanta are the first teams that come to mind for someone like Taylor to land. All of these teams either are in need of a starting running back or have a solid pass-catching back on their roster at the moment. Miami, Atlanta, and Houston are in need of a starting running back and have guys like Duke Johnson and Ito Smith to work as complementary backs. The Colts haven’t committed to Marlon Mack, but they do have a nice weapon in Nyheim Hines who has shown flashes in the passing game at times. Really, as long as he doesn’t land on a team with a stud running back, Taylor should compete for a starting job on day one.
Pre-Draft Dynasty Thoughts
Taylor is going to go off the board first overall in plenty of fantasy drafts this year. His stock was high enough, to begin with, but after his excellent Combine performance, the stock is even higher. He’s got all the tools to be a fantasy-producer at the next level and I expect him to do just that. Regardless of what team he lands on, he’s going to be in the discussion as the first player off the board. Taylor has all the tools to be a solid NFL running back, and ultimately a productive asset on your dynasty football teams.