Name: Jonathan Taylor
Position: Running back
NFL Grade: 6.41 ("Will be a starter within first two seasons")
Stats: Taylor was a consensus All-American his last year with the Badgers in 2019. It followed a campaign where he eclipsed 2,000 yards rushing for the second consecutive year. He was even close his freshman year, rushing for over 1,900 yards. This past season, he ran 320 times for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns, giving him a 6.3 yards per carry average. His sophomore season was even more impressive, touching the ball 307 times but gaining a career-high 2,194 yards with 16 touchdowns and a whopping 7.1 yards per carry average. During his Wisconsin career, Taylor averaged 6.7 yards per carry and over 150 yards per game.
His junior season also saw him get his first significant work with his hands. He caught 26 passes for 252 yards and five receiving touchdowns. He's the seventh player in FBS history to rush for 6,000 yards – and the only to do it in three seasons. He finished in the top 10 of Heisman Trophy voting all three years as a Badger. He now ranks sixth all-time in the FBS for his 6,174 yards rushing, which ranks him second in the Big Ten.
Comments: Taylor impressed at the NFL Combine, running a blazing 4.39-second 40-yard dash. That may be contradictory to expectations of a back that's known for being able to wear opponents down, rather than flat-out beat them.
"He's more body puncher than knockout artist, wearing down his opponents with carry after carry," writes NFL.com's Lance Zierlein. "His traits, toughness and talent should make him an early starter with a solid ceiling and more third-down potential than we saw at Wisconsin."
Couple that with speed and Taylor looks to be one of the best choices in a deep running back class this year. He's also been working on his pass-catching and made it a point at his pro day to make sure teams knew he can catch. It's an effort to become a true three-down back and he seems to fit the bill. He has the size to hold up in pass protection, he's got the toughness to fight for extra yardage and has worked on his hands to be a real threat in the receiving game.
More than the physical attributes he has, Taylor also has the mental ones. He's a smart player who has great awareness on the field and can get between the tackles.
"His patience and understanding of the where/when of blocks allowed him to thrive in multiple run schemes," writes Zierlein.