Second round, No. 35
RB: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
The Detroit Lions need to sure up their rushing attack, and why mess around hoping to draft a runner later in the draft when you have an opportunity to trade a franchise back in the second round?
Jonathan Taylor was a man among boys running the football with the Wisconsin Badgers over the last three seasons. He carried the football 926 times with the Badgers recording a stellar 6174 rushing yards good for an average of 6.7 yards per carry notching 50 touchdowns. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Taylor hauled in 42 catches totaling 407 yards and 5 touchdowns.
The Badgers didn’t utilize Taylor in the passing game during his first two seasons. He lacked receiving skills but focused on catching the football between his Sophmore and Junior seasons understanding to excel at the next level being a three-down back he’d need to catch the football. After corralling 16 balls in his first two seasons combined, he recorded 26 grabs last season.
Taylor stands 5’11 and a stout 220 pounds but has speed to burn. Taylor ran an impressive 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, which led all backs. He recorded a 36″ vertical jump, 127″ Broad jump, and benched 225 pounds 17 times. Some feel Taylor’s performance launched his stock into the first round but with how the league has viewed runners in recent years, plus some will shy away because of his heavy college workload. I’m confident he will be available at pick 35.
The Detroit Lions offense should be desperate to add this type of runner to their backfield. Matthew Stafford hasn’t had much of a rushing attack during his career. Taylor would be the best Lions running prospect since the legendary Barry Sanders.
Detroit’s lead back Kerryon Johnson has missed plenty of time in both of his first two seasons. He’d be a perfect complement to Taylor who’d immediately become the primary ball-carrier along with Ty Johnson and potentially Bo Scarbrough.