2020 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor


Height: 5’11

Weight: 219 lbs.


2019 Maxwell Award Semifinalist
2018 Doak Walker Award Winner
2018 Maxwell Award Semifinalist


Jonathan Taylor is a three-year productive running back for University of Wisconsin.  Had a successful freshman season in 2017, but had a breakout season in 2018, with only one game under triple digit rushing yards in a loss to Northwestern.  Three-star recruiting prospect per ESPN and 247Sports.  In this article, we will breakdown his mechanics and predict his future as an everyday NFL running back.



What I Like:

Vision and Acceleration

Jonathan Taylor shows a good vision on this play to read the field quickly and find open running lanes as he gets upfield quickly.  Once Taylor is able to get through the line of scrimmage, he hits his second gear and pushes downfield fora huge gain.  These are the types of plays that we see from Jonathan Taylor on nearly each and every carry.



What I Dislike:

Pass Protection Technique

Jonathan Taylor isn’t asked to pass protect often, so his technique is quite inconsistent.  On this play, he misses getting a solid block on the defender, having to resort to only slightly redirecting him.  His technique isn’t what caused the sack on the quarterback here, but a capable pass block could have given him a bit more room to move the ball downfield.



Where I’ve Seen Improvement:

Competitive Toughness and Balance

Jonathan Taylor shows good patience and change of direction on this play.  However, what I want to focus on is his competitive toughness to carry defenders downfield as he continues to fight for additional yards, and the first down.  This is a suburb effort on this play. 



Overall Breakdown

Has solid height and good weight for the running back position.  Displays good acceleration and good top end speed.  Has very good balance to remain upright through change of direction or contact.  Shows to have very good patience to allow blocks to develop before accelerating through running lanes.  Displays good awareness to stretch the ball over first down and goal lines.  Shows to be an aggressive runner that looks for contact to punish defenders and wear them down.  Has a very good ability to keep his body and center of gravity low and keep feet moving through contact.  Shows to have a very good ability to continue fighting for yards with defenders draped over him.  Displays a solid ability to scan the field quickly to find and anticipate open lanes.  Displays a very good ability to keep the football tight and secured through contact and doesn’t show to put the ball on the ground often.  Has solid burst and acceleration out of the backfield to get through holes and upfield quickly.  Displays a good change of direction ability and shows to be able to stop and redirect very quickly.  Has a good natural catching ability to secure passes out of the backfield, in the flats, or downfield.  Displays solid footwork to remain balanced when asked to contribute in pass protection situations.  Is rarely asked to to do so, but appears to have solid attributes to operate screens efficiently.  Displays solid speed to get outside quickly while scanning for open running lanes.

Displays an adequate ability to take plays off or give up easily before scanning field to find open space.  Pass protection technique is adequate, likely attributed to rarely being asked to participate in pass blocking scenarios.


2020 NFL Draft Projection

Late-First to Mid-Second Round

Jonathan Taylor is a patient running back that looks to punish defenders through contact and wear them down.  Taylor has the abilities to become an every down back in the NFL, and should be a top performer at the NFL Combine should he declare for the 2020 NFL Draft.  Look for him to come off the board in the early to mid-second round, but could be selected by a team looking for a three-down back.

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