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Scouting Spotlight: RB Jonathan Taylor

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With the draft just over three weeks away, the “Scouting Spotlight” will serve as a highlight of five individual players from possible positions of need that the Buffalo Bills could look to address over the course of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The 2020 NFL Free Agency waves have come and gone. The Bills made a multitude of moves to shore up their offensive and defensive lines to go with cornerback as well. We must not forget the blockbuster trade for star wide receiver Stefon Diggs. General manager Brandon Beane has looked to address every hole on the roster. The last hole that still appears to be glaring is a complementary running back to pair with Devin Singletary. Could Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor fill that role and more?


Scouting Report

Taylor spent three years as a starter at the University of Wisconsin. He was a three-time Doak Walker award finalist and a two-time winner. He was a three-time All-American and finished his career sixth all time in FBS history with 6,174 rushing yards gained. Taylor is among one of the most decorated running backs in history with just three years under his belt at Wisconsin.

Strengths

  • Nice looking frame that will be able to endure all three downs at the next level
  • Tons of production to hang his hat on
  • He has very good vision; he sees the point of attack very well
  • he’s always looking to find a crease to spring himself free for a big gain
  • Patient runner who lets things come to him rather than forcing the issue
  • He is not often tackled by one player; it takes multiple defenders to bring him down
  • Cuts are subtle and adequate for where he wants to go in his run plan
  • Forces players to swing and miss when he puts on lateral agility moves
  • He has the speed to hit the home run at any point with a clocked 4.39 40-yd dash
  • Sound in pass protection, which enables his ability to stay on the field in passing situations at the next level

Weaknesses

  • Cuts lack a great amount of power behind them
  • Durability issues are a concern with 926 carries in three years
  • Fumbled the ball 18 times in his career
  • Has a ton of drops as a receiver out of the backfield
  • Doesn’t always utilize game-breaking speed; Instead of out-running slower defenders, he searched for contact
  • Doesn’t have the utmost amount of creativity in the open field; he’s all speed at the second level

Overall

Taylor is a sound and straight-forward back with exceptional vision and speed to thrive at the next level. Teams should know what they are getting with Taylor with a rather large carry load from college. Taylor will need to refine his abilities as a pass catcher to maintain the ability to stay on the field in passing situations. If he does not want to be yanked from games, he will also need to fix his ball security issues he has had consistently in the college game. However, he is a home-run hitter who is a threat to see a seam and take it to distance at any moment, and he’s had a ton of success coming into the NFL.

Draft Projection: Round 2

Why He Fits the Bills

Taylor is a very straight-forward runner that speaks to a process-type of players head coach Sean McDermott preaches for. Taylor runs hard with every run he has and he also offers a different flavor of home-run ability that the Bills currently lack in their offense. Taylor would make a lot of sense for the Bills as an early Day 2 pick in this year’s draft.