NFL Draft 2020: Teams that Fit for Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor
Football fans will start ramping up their excitement as it is just over three weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft. For Wisconsin, this could be another year where its now-former players will likely hear their respective names called at some point during the three-day extravaganza.
AllBadgers.com kicks off a series with Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson, talking about a handful of Wisconsin prospects who will likely have a significant chance to be drafted and have a shot to make an impact at the next level.
We started our series on Monday with one of the two Badgers who could likely be selected in the first two rounds in linebacker Zack Baun. Now on Tuesday, we discuss one of college football's most productive backs, running back Jonathan Taylor.
Check out Taylor's combine/Wisconsin pro day marks, along with Hanson's evaluation of the New Jersey native and potential landing destinations for the unanimous first-team All-American.
NFL Scouting Combine Stats
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.39 seconds (first among running backs who participated)
- Vertical Jump: 36" (tied for 11th out of 28 from the position group who participated)
- Broad Jump: 123" (tied with four other players for ninth out of 27 backs who performed drill)
- 3-Cone Drill: 7.01 seconds (fourth out of 11 backs who performed drill)
- 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.24 seconds (sixth out of 16 backs who performed drill)
- Bench Press: 17 reps of 225 pounds (16th out of 23 backs who performed drill)
Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson
On his evaluation of Taylor:
"I love Taylor. I think that given his production is unreal, obviously with more than 6,000 rushing yards in three seasons. Unprecedented. I think it's good that he was more involved as a receiver as a junior, something that we didn't really see from him in his first two seasons in Madison. I think this is a positive and a negative in sense of the workload he showed. He has the ability to handle a significant workload and he's durable, and he has great size, and I think he can handle that at the next level. The concern of course, is what kind of toll does almost 1,000 touches in three years in college have on the longevity of his career. I think it won't be such an impact early in his career, but long-term you may see that creep up on him quicker.
"Obviously has home run speed at 226 pounds running a sub-4.4 40(-yard-dash). So the size, the strength, the ability to break arm tackles the ability to run away from defenders. All of those things you absolutely love. Great character, great leader. I think the concerns aside from the workload, the cumulative effects that the workload will have on him longer term, is the fumbles. Losing 15 fumbles is not good. I think that's something that can be coached out of him, and he can become more secure with the ball. We've seen some players do that that had fumbling issues in college and improve in the pros. But I think that those are the two things that I would be concerned with, in addition to just improving as a receiver. We saw some of that as a junior, but the continued improvement as a receiver I think would help him be a more rounded running back at the next level considering how much of a passing league it is.
On where he sees Taylor going in the NFL Draft:
"I think he's in the mix. So I've had a lot of mock drafts -- almost one a week - and I have four more coming up so it's not going to stop. I've had Taylor at some points in the first round, at the end of the first round. I think teams like Miami, who could use a running back -- I know they added Jordan Howard -- but Baltimore I think could be an interesting spot.
"I think Tennessee could be an interesting spot as well. When I think about Tennessee, the last time I had Taylor in the first round, I had him to Tennessee. I know they franchise-tagged Derrick Henry, but if you think about an offense that runs through its running back more so than any other team, he would be a great fit if they feel like they can't sign Henry long-term. Obviously they tagged them so there's some concern potentially that they may not be able to sign him long-term. But he's the kind of person who could handle a heavy workload. He's shown it, and he would fit I think a lot of what they do. I think he's as talented in terms of a receiver as Derrick Henry so he kind of would fill the mode, obviously not as big but he is fast, faster than Henry. Henry has an unreal, combination of size and speed, and the ability to handle a massive workload and I think Taylor is a little smaller, but faster, would have that same ability to do that.
"I think he could, if he makes it to the second round, and I think the problem with the top running backs I think DeAndre Swift, Jonathan Taylor and J.K. Dobbins are all in the mix to go in the first round but obviously, given where the league's at, I think there's the potential that despite the talent that they end up sliding to the second round.
"So I think some of the other teams in the second round that could consider him early would be the (Los Angeles) Chargers. Melvin Gordon, former Badger, is now in Denver, so I think he would be a good complement to Austin Ekeler. Ekeler is a really good receiving back, and I wouldn't be surprised if they if (Los Angeles head coach) Anthony Lynn and the Chargers wanted to add someone else to the mix. Then maybe Tampa Bay at (No.) 45 or Atlanta at (No.) 47 could be in the mix as well with Devonta Freeman gone and obviously with Tom Brady and Tampa and the running game not being that effective. I could see them looking to to add someone like Taylor who could take a lot of pressure off with the passing game, which should be incredible with what Brady, (Mike) Evans and (Chris) Godwin and and Bruce Arians, etc.