Colts' Jonathan Taylor, Rodrigo Blankenship Named to 2021 All-Under-25 Team

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship recently made NFL.com's 2021 All-Under-25 Team.
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The Indianapolis Colts' philosophy on team building is centered around drafting and developing their own players.

As a result, they have quite a few promising, young prospects on their roster who should be around for the long haul. Some have already developed into playmakers while others need a little more time.

With a wealth of young talent around the league in mind who should shape the future of the league, the Colts' included, Around the NFL writer Nick Shook recently released this year's All-Under-25 Team.

To be eligible for the team, "players must be younger than 25 years old on Sept. 9, the day the season kicks off."

Making the team is a couple of Colts in running back Jonathan Taylor and kicker Rodrigo Blankenship.

NOTE: I get this question/concern every year when these teams come out, so I'll mention now that offensive linemen Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, linebacker Darius Leonard and cornerback Kenny Moore II will already be at least 25 when the season starts, which disqualifies them from the list.

RB Jonathan Taylor
Indianapolis Colts · Age: 22

Taylor's explosive second half of last season earned him a spot here. He beat out the likes of Saquon Barkley because, well, Taylor was available to play last year while Barkley missed all but two games due to injury. Taylor led rookies in rushing yards with 1,169 and finished third in the entire league in the category, doing so while seeing the second-most touches among all rookies (268). He also became one of just 25 rookies in NFL history to rush for 1,100-plus rushing yards and score 10 or more rushing touchdowns. Do you know who else is in that group? Barry Sanders, Earl Campbell and Adrian Peterson. It was a heck of a start for the next star running back in Indianapolis.

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As one of the most accomplished collegiate running backs ever, Taylor came to the Colts with a lot of hype and expectations. He got off to a solid start after being forced into the starting role by Week 2 as he put up 199 yards of offense and a touchdown in his first two games but was then quite inconsistent for the next several weeks.

Things turned around for him around mid-year as he averaged 117.0 rushing yards per game in between Week 11 and the Wild Card round of the playoffs, which included four games with at least 90 yards, two with at least 150, and a franchise-record 253 yards in Week 17. By season's end, Taylor was third in the league in rushing with 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns.

There's no telling what he'll do for an encore in 2021.

K Rodrigo Blankenship
Indianapolis Colts · Age: 24

Blankenship ranked fifth in the league in field goals made with 32 in 2020. He was perfect from chip shot range (10 of 10 from 20-29 yards), nearly perfect from 30-39 yards (12 of 13) and posted a long of 53 yards. The group of young kickers isn't exactly a packed one, and Blankenship rose to the top as a rookie.

He wasn't perfect, but Blankenship had a really good rookie season in 2020. He was 33-of-39 on field-goal attempts (84.6%) and 44-of-46 on extra points (95.7%), but most of his damage was done within 40 or so yards. Once it got to attempts of 50-plus yards, he was just 1-of-3 (33.3%).

He finished fifth in the NFL in scoring (139 points) and tied Adam Vinatieri for the fourth-most points in a season in franchise history, and he finished the season with the most field goals made by a rookie in Colts franchise history. Blankenship was also named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.

Despite his consistency from inside 40 yards, the Colts want to challenge Blankenship for more and as such have brought in veteran Eddy Pineiro to compete with him for the starting role in 2021.

Should any other Colts have made the team? Drop your thoughts below in the comment section!


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