Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor made a resounding case to be the top tailback off the board in the 2020 draft with a sterling NFL Scouting Combine performance.
The 226-pounder was a blur in the 40-yard-dash, becoming the only running back in the class to go under the 4.4-second mark with his 4.39. At his size, the speed answered one question for scouts entering draft season.
Taylor believes his performance underscored the type of running back he can be at the NFL-level, telling Albert Breer of The MMQB he believes he's in the same class as other big-name first-rounders who have gone in recent drafts.
"Todd Gurley was a playmaker on the field, Zeke was a playmaker on the field, Saquon was a playmaker on the field," Taylor told Breer. "Same thing with myself: playmaker on the field. I've been constantly able to make plays for three years, and that's something I really wanted coming into college. I wanted to make sure for the three years I was here, that I was consistent, coaches knew what they were getting out of me every single practice, game, rep.
Questions about Taylor's workload could remain a sticking point for some clubs. Taylor toted the ball 926 times in 41 college games for 6,174 rushing yards with 50 TDs. That's a lot of tread on the tires entering the NFL. For comparison, Barkley had just 671 attempts at Penn State, and Ezekiel Elliott rushed just 592 times at Ohio State.
There is no questioning Taylor's college production on the ground. Running for nearly 2,000 yards in three straight seasons speaks to Taylor's talent and durability. He also displayed very good vision and pop to hit the holes before they closed.
During the combine, Taylor also displayed solid pass-catching ability, a question mark for him entering the league after catching just 42 passes at Wisconsin. Taylor looked natural in the receiving portion of combine drills, didn't fight the ball, and corralled some off-target throws.
NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah ranked Taylor as the No. 39 overall player heading into the combine. Whether the running back's performance boosts him up teams' draft boards remains to be seen as we careen towards selection day on April 23.