Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is viewed as one of the top rated running back prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. The oddsmakers at William Hill U.S. have created a market that offers bettors the opportunity to wager on the overall over/under draft position for the star tailback.
Taylor put up some of the best numbers in college football history, becoming the seventh player ever to rush for 6,000 yards and he was the first to ever do so in just three seasons. The powerful back rushed for 1,977, 2,194 and 2,003 yards with 50 total touchdowns over three seasons with the Badgers.
The two-time Doak Walker Award winner (2018 and 2019) is a durable, explosive runner who looks to use his punishing running style to wear down opposing defenders. Taylor broke Herschel Walker’s record (5,596 yards) for most rushing yards in the first three years of a collegiate career. He finished among the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting the last three seasons and owns the NCAA record for most 200-yard rushing games (12).
Taylor, Georgia’s D’Andre Swift and Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins are considered the top three running backs in the draft. The 5-foot-10, 226-pound Taylor really helped himself immensely at the combine with impressive drills highlighted by posting a superb 40 time of 4.39 (fastest among all running backs).
His combination of strength and vision has many scouts believing his game at the next level will translate to a player who can become a foundational building block for any NFL team.
What teams are looking?
According to Sports Illustrated's Wisconsin Maven Jake Kocorowski, “a Day 1 or Day 2 pick seems likely for Taylor”. He recently sat down with SI’s Kevin Hanson who offered a list of teams that best fit the prolific Badger running back.
Among the teams rumored to be strongly interested are the Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons. The Dolphins have 14 picks in this year’s draft, highlighted by three first-round selections (No. 5, No. 18 and No. 26) and two second-rounders (No. 39 and No. 56). It’s widely believed Miami will use one of its top five selections on one of the top three running back prospects.
Behind the Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens (No. 28) and the Kansas City Chiefs (No. 32) could be in the market of adding a dynamic running back to their offenses, while the Detroit Lions (No. 35) could look to add depth at the top of the second round. It's understood that the Ravens have Mark Ingram and the Chiefs have Damien Williams, however the additions of one of these elite backs to lethal attacks led by Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes would take the offenses in Baltimore and Kansas City to another level.
The Lions could look to bolster the position given the durability issues Kerryon Johnson has endured in his first two seasons in the NFL following an outstanding career with the Auburn Tigers. Appearing in only 18 of 32 games due to injuries, the Lions front office will be looking to add some quality insurance early in this month’s draft.
The Los Angeles Chargers have the No. 37 selection of the second round and obviously have a need at the position following the departure of running back Melvin Gordon to the Denver Broncos. The Chargers have the speedy Austin Ekeler atop their depth chart, but quite frankly there are legitimate concerns if he can last a full season being asked to take the pounding of an every-down running back. Taylor would fit in nicely with Los Angeles’ downfield weapons consisting of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry.
Against The Odds:
With the way things stand right now, the under on 37.5 seems to be the play. With the Dolphins, Ravens, Chiefs, Lions and Chargers all having draft capital within the top 37 overall selections, I am willing to gamble that Taylor hears his name called before the posted position of 37.5.
The Play: UNDER 37.5 (-110)
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