Every year the question is asked, "who will be the best rookie running back?" This year is going to be unlike any year for rookie running backs. With a strong draft class at many positions, especially wide receiver, running backs were falling very far in the draft. I think that Jonathan Taylor fell too far, and that despite Clyde-Edwards-Helaire, who by no means am I discrediting, will not be the best rookie running back. This is why:
When Clyde Edwards-Helaire was drafted to the Colts, many discounted Taylor's value. As the second rushing yards leader behind breakout Chuba Hubbard, Taylor was phenomenal when it came to his ability to break tackles and elude defenders. Alongside his power running game, Taylor is suprisingly quick, running a 4.39 40-yard dash, the fastest in the group of 2020 rookie running backs. This impressive speed along with the power to play at the goal-line puts Taylor far and ahead any running back in his draft class.
Joanthan Taylor is in a difficult situation to read. The Colts have a very confusing room with the likes of Taylor, Marlon Mack, and Nyheim Hines. Mack, who last year was a workhorse back for the Colts was solid, but much of that was due to a great offensive line. He also showed inconsistencies, especially in the YPC category, at times going as high as 7.8 YPC the and hitting lows in the 2-3 range, as well as dealing with injuries. This is what most likely led to the Colts selecting Taylor. Taylor will look to take over the number 1 role behind a great line and will take a good chunk of the passing game which belonged mostly to Nyheim Hines, more of a pass blocking RB. I think all this is great for Taylor, who when given volume, has been extremely effective as you saw in the stats paragraph. I think having an older quarterback in Phillip Rivers, who is 38 years old, and a run first coaching staff, the Colts are going to be giving Taylor lots of work. Phillip Rivers also has recently seen a decline in arm strength, a trend that looks to continue. He also has built his resume off of short and intermediate passes, especially to running backs and tight ends. With all this said, no matter what role Mack and Hines play, this will not inhibit Taylor from performing if he is the number one running back.
Watch out for Jonathan Taylor next year. As the second RB picked in the draft last year he is being undervalued at an extreme level due to his fellow rookie RB draft class member, Edwards-Helaire being selected to the Chiefs. This is just fueling the fire for Taylor who is and will be the best rookie RB next year.