Jonathan Taylor, Julian Blackmon Land in First Round of 2020 Re-Draft

Bleacher Report re-drafted the 2020 NFL Draft class, and Colts second-day picks Jonathan Taylor and Julian Blackmon landed in the first round this time around.
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The Indianapolis Colts didn't have a first-round pick in last year's draft, but they still made the most of their selections.

With three picks inside the top 85 selections, the Colts found starters in each of the three, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., running back Jonathan Taylor, and safety Julian Blackmon.

Bleacher Report recently did an exercise where they re-drafted the 2020 NFL Draft class, and Taylor and Blackmon weren't passed up in the first round this time around.

19. Las Vegas Raiders: S Julian Blackmon, Utah

What actually happened: Drafted CB Damon Arnette
Where he was actually picked: Third round (85th overall) by the Colts

The jury's still out on Arnette, who saw action in just nine games as a rookie and gave up a 106.9 passer rating on throws into his coverage, but the Raiders can swap him out for a surer thing in the secondary by grabbing safety Julian Blackmon.

The Utah product was often a game-changer in the Indianapolis Colts secondary, finishing with two interceptions, six passes defensed, 42 tackles (three for a loss) and a forced fumble. But those numbers don't do justice to his impact. Several of his key plays came in particularly big moments.

The real-world No. 85 overall pick is also a great fit for the Raiders, who have 2019 first-round safety Johnathan Abram inside the box but said goodbye to Lamarcus Joyner this offseason and could use an upgrade over Jeff Heath at free safety

The second safety off the board in this re-draft, Blackmon surprised just about everyone, including the Colts.

He suffered a torn ACL in December 2019 and wasn't expected to contribute to the Colts until late September-early October at the soonest. However, an injury to starting free safety Malik Hooker thrust Blackmon into the starting lineup during Week 2, and he didn't disappoint.

Blackmon was a difference-maker right away, either contributing to or forcing several big plays on his own.

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The fearless, intelligent defensive back started 14-of-15 games and totaled 42 tackles (3 for loss), 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions, and 6 pass breakups.

Between his three forced turnovers, all three occurred in the fourth quarter or overtime with the Colts tied or protecting a lead.

26. Miami Dolphins: RB Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

What actually happened: Traded back, drafted CB Noah Igbinoghene 30th overall
Where he was actually picked: Second round (41st overall) by the Colts

Running backs are almost never worth first-round picks, but the Dolphins have more first-rounders than the Easter Bunny has chocolate eggs and a huge hole in the offensive backfield. Plus, Jonathan Taylor was a true difference-maker with the Colts in 2020.

The Wisconsin product ranked fifth among running backs with 1,468 yards from scrimmage and tied for fourth among that crowd with a dozen total touchdowns. He was also the only player in the league to rush for more than 1,100 yards but fumble fewer than twice.

And it's particularly promising that he was at his best when he appeared to find his groove in December and January (6.7 yards per attempt and eight total touchdowns in five regular-season games).

That put him in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation, and it would set him up to be a focal point of the budding Miami offense in place of current backs Myles Gaskin, Malcolm Brown and Salvon Ahmed.

Taylor was one of college football's most accomplished running backs ever, so he could have easily gone in the first round. However, a heavy collegiate workload and concerns about his ball security and contributions in the passing game were called into question.

The Colts weren't concerned, as they traded up in the second round to get him.

Like Blackmon, an Achilles injury to the starter thrust Taylor into the starting lineup before planned as Marlon Mack went down early in Week 1.

Things were rocky for Taylor through the first half of the season as his usage (and play) were inconsistent, to say the least.

However, he caught fire in the second half of the season, averaging 22.2 touches for 139.5 yards from scrimmage and scoring 8 touchdowns over the final six games of the year.

On the season, Taylor started 13-of-15 games and rushed 232 times for 1,169 yards (5.0 avg.) and 11 touchdowns to go with 36 receptions for 299 yards (8.3 avg.) and 1 touchdown.

Taylor totaled three 100-yard rushing games, including a monster, franchise-record 253-yard day in Week 17, and three multi-touchdown games. He also ultimately finished third in the NFL in rushing.

As for the Colts' selection in this draft? They traded the 13th-overall pick last year to the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who went on to have an All-Pro season.

Taken with that 13th slot in the re-draft by the 49ers was Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, who was far and away considered the top cornerback in the draft. In actuality, Okudah was taken No. 3 overall by the Detroit Lions.

Did the Colts nail the 2020 draft? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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