Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS – Trading up?

For a running back?

Chris Ballard is really doing things differently this offseason.

With the 41st overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Colts took Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor in Round Two.

Here are 3 takeaways on Taylor:

1.Dynamic Ball Carrier

The 5-10 and 226-pound Taylor amassed an incredible 6,174 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and 50 touchdowns in just 3 seasons at Wisconsin. Taylor is the only player in FBS history to rush for at least 1,900 yards in three straight seasons. Throughout the draft process, the high character of Taylor was one of the first things people mentioned, so you know the Colts were attracted to that trait. Now, Taylor did have an ugly 18 fumbles over his 968 touches at Wisconsin. That’s easily the biggest concern of him as a player. As a runner though, Taylor is a guy who has shown the ability to bounce off tackles and provide yards after contact, offering more of a complement in style to the elusive speed of Marlon Mack. Of course, Taylor’s 4.39 40-yard dash time at 226 pounds is no joke. It remains to be seen what Taylor can do as a pass catcher (averaged 14 catches per season in college), but his early-down impact should be there immediately.

2. Not Afraid To Trade Up

Chris Ballard has not been afraid to do some different things this offseason. Well, how is trading up (for the just the 3rd time in 10 draft day trades) for a running back? The Colts liked several of the high-end running backs in this draft, but Taylor clearly stood out. To acquire Taylor, the Colts moved up 3 spots, and gave up the 160th overall selection in Round 5. This move is just another in furthering the ‘run the damn’ ball mantra for the Colts. We know Taylor is used to running behind elite offensive lines, too. Now, many are anti-investing this sort of draft capital into a running back. That’s fair. But taking a running back every year in the draft is a wise move with how that position is turned over so often once guys reach the end of their rookie deals. This move is just another by the Colts in the steps of ‘win now’ that we’ve already seen this offseason.

3. Marlon Mack’s Long-Term Future In Question

This pick shouldn’t necessarily lead to fans jumping to some negative opinion of how the Colts view Marlon Mack. Nope, this is more of life for an NFL running back in the year 2020. More and more teams are hesitant to give their lead back a second contract, and it’s possible the Colts are in that line of that thinking with this pick. Remember how against and outspoken Jim Irsay was about a possible Mack extension back in February? If Mack, a 2020 free agent, is demanding high-level RB money next spring, the Colts now have a much higher draft pick at the running back position. With the Colts offensive line, they don’t need to invest too much at running back to find consistent production, but the addition of a more dynamic runner gives this skill group more needed talent, particularly when looking down the road, deeper into the 2020s. As far as 2020 and the running back rotation of the Colts, maybe Mack and Taylor splitting series on early downs and then Nyheim Hines coming onto the field on 3rd down? Whatever it is, this run game should be (and needs to be) top-5 in the league.

 

-What are the Colts getting in second-round pick WR-Michael Pittman (USC)?

-How does Utah S/CB-Julian Blackmon fit into the Colts secondary?

-What did the Colts see in QB-Jacob Eason (Washington) to draft him in Round 4?

-What did the Colts see in QB-Jacob Eason (Washington) to draft him in Round 4?

-Is 5th round pick OL-Danny Pinter the Colts next versatile backup offensive linemen?