Salem's Jonathan Taylor Looking to Make his Mark in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts

Salem's Jonathan Taylor Looking to Make his Mark in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts
There was little doubt that Jonathan Taylor would enter the NFL draft after his third season at Wisconsin. The only question would be whether the former star at Salem would be taken in the first or second round.
 
It became the later when the Indianapolis Colts selected him in the second round with 41st overall pick. Thus it ended one of the great careers in college football history for a running back.
 
In three seasons he rushed for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns. According to the University of Wisconsin, Taylor is the first Badgers football player to finish in the top 10 in Heisman voting three times in his college career.
 
As a true freshman in 2017, he finished sixth and was them ninth in 2018. This past season he was fifth in the voting.
 
With those credentials, Taylor was a legitimate contender to be a first-round pick, but the running back position has been devalued in recent seasons, with teams feeling they can get a quality back in later rounds.
 
Indianapolis, coached by former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich, traded up in the second round to get Taylor. The Colts traded the No. 44 and 160 picks to Cleveland for the 41st selection that they used to select Taylor.
 
 “It’s awesome and now I can’t wait to see the next group of guys that come through the University of Wisconsin and see what they make of it,” Taylor said on draft night in a conference call with reporters. “I always tell guys when I’m speaking with recruits, ‘You have an opportunity at the University (of Wisconsin) and that’s all you need.’ So, I can’t wait to see the next guy that comes through with that opportunity.”
 
Taylor will play behind one of the NFL’s top offensive lines, led by All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, the former all-American from Notre Dame.
 
“I’m truly excited, I mean we’ve seen him (Nelson) from the sidelines so we know what kind of beast that he is and I think one of biggest things is understanding is he’s a monster, he’s a baller. We’ve even watched clips of him in our meeting room sometimes when we’re with the o-line going over protection meetings and just how to actually dominate an opponent. It’s just going to be an awesome feeling knowing that you have guys upfront that take pride in beating the man in front of them.”
 
Taylor will have competition for playing time since the Colts’ No. 1 back Marlon Mack returns. Mack, a former star at University of South Florida, is in the final season of his contract. This past season he rushed for 1,091 yards (4.4 avg.) and eight touchdowns.
 
Many NFL teams are going with two running backs because of all the pounding it takes to play at that position, so whether he is a starter as a rookie or not, Taylor should get plenty of carries.
 
Taylor was just the latest South Jersey running back to star for the Badgers. Ron Dayne of Overbrook won the Heisman Trophy and Corey Clement of Glassboro enjoyed a great career before being a vital cog in the Eagles Super Bowl title following the 2017 season.
 
Now Taylor is the latest South Jersey star from Wisconsin, who will look to what he did in high school and college and take it to the pros.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo courtesy of Wisconsin Athletics

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