Jonathan Taylor

COVID-19 Latest: Ravens, Tuitt, Colts

Multiple standout defensive linemen will be back in action in Week 13, and although the Ravens still have several players on their reserve/COVID-19 list, their roster is no longer as depleted as it was Wednesday.

  • Baltimore’s coronavirus list still houses 10 players, including Lamar Jackson, but the team will have multiple starters back at practice soon. The Ravens activated Calais Campbell, Mark Ingram and defensive lineman Jihad Ward from their virus list. Ingram was eligible to play against the Steelers on Wednesday, but the Ravens held him out. A five-time Pro Bowler, Campbell has not played since Nov. 8 due to a calf strain.
  • The 11-0 Steelers will have Stephon Tuitt back in action when they face Washington on Monday. They activated the seventh-year starter from their reserve/COVID list. Three Steelers remain on the virus list, including starters James Conner and Maurkice Pouncey.
  • Pricey trade acquisition DeForest Buckner came off the Colts‘ virus list as well. Buckner landed on Indianapolis’ COVID list after testing positive for the virus in late November. The Colts, who allowed the Titans to rush for 229 yards in Buckner’s absence last week, also removed Jonathan Taylor from their virus list.
  • The Ravens announced Saturday that four strains of the coronavirus were present in their building. While the team believes it contained three of those strains, the fourth ended up spreading to the point it forced the NFL to postpone the team’s Steelers rematch three times. Ten straight days commenced with at least one Raven testing positive for the virus, and the team had as many as 23 players on its reserve/COVID list at the height of the outbreak. Four straight days, however, have passed without a Ravens positive test.

Colts Place Jonathan Taylor On Reserve/COVID-19 List

Jonathan Taylor will not play for the Colts on Sunday. The AFC South leaders placed the rookie running back on their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

Taylor is not believed to have submitted a positive coronavirus test, but his girlfriend tested positive after an out-of-town trip, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Taylor has been in quarantine since Friday. NFL protocols mandate players who come in contact with a COVID-positive person must isolate for five days. Were Taylor to test positive, he would be sidelined at least 10 days.

The Colts will face the Titans without their leading rusher or starting center, having declared Ryan Kelly out with a neck injury. Kelly, who has not missed a start since the 2018 season, did not practice this week.

As for Indianapolis’ backfield, it will rely on holdovers Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. The third-year backs have been effective at times this season, though none of Indianapolis’ backs is averaging more than four yards per carry. Hines scored twice against the Titans in the teams’ previous meeting. Taylor, however, leads the Colts with 135 carries for 518 yards and four TDs.

Colts Sign Three Draft Picks

The Colts have agreed to terms with three more draft picks, according to a team announcement. RB Jonathan Taylor (pick no. 41), QB Jacob Eason (no. 122), and LB Jordan Glasgow (no. 213) are all in the fold.

Indianapolis was left without a first-round pick due to the team’s trade for DeForest Buckner earlier this offseason. But the Colts had two second-round choices, and they used one of them on Taylor, a talented back out of Wisconsin (they actually traded up three spots to nab him). One of the concerns surrounding Taylor is his heavy usage in college, as he averaged 309 carries over his three seasons with the Badgers, but he certainly made the most out of those carries. He piled up 6,174 rushing yards on a healthy 6.7 yards-per-tote, and he became more of a factor in the passing game in 2019, contributing 26 catches for 252 yards and five receiving scores.

The Colts already had plenty of young talent in the backfield, with Taylor joining Marlon MackJordan Wilkins, and Nyheim Hines. Mack rushed for nearly 1,100 yards last season as the team’s RB1, but he is entering his contract year, and after seeing Indianapolis invest heavily in RBs in the draft over the past two seasons, he may be playing for a free agent deal elsewhere.

Eason, meanwhile, is an intriguing QB prospect who could be a starting option for the Colts as soon as 2021. Of course, Indy brought in Philip Rivers on a one-year pact for 2020, but current QB2 Jacoby Brissett is also on the last year of his current deal, so Eason will have the opportunity to learn from both players this season and perhaps take the reins next year. In 2019, the strong-armed Washington product completed 64.2% of his passes for 3,132 yards, 23 touchdowns, and eight interceptions.

Glasgow, the Colts’ final selection in the draft, will attempt to crack the team’s LB rotation and special teams unit. The DB-turned-linebacker compiled 89 tackles and five sacks in his final season at Michigan.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Trade Up With Browns For RB Jonathan Taylor

The Colts will assemble a crowded backfield next season. Trading up from No. 44 to No. 41 with Cleveland, Indianapolis selected Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor.

In the deal, the Browns will slide down three spots and pick up a fifth-round selection (No. 160). The Colts, meanwhile, will pair Taylor with incumbent Marlon Mack.

While Mack and Taylor figure to be the headliners in a strong Indianapolis backfield next season, the Colts also have 2018 draftees Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines on their team. The Taylor investment does somewhat cloud Mack’s future with the franchise. Mack is one of many talented 2017 running back draftees going into contract years. With Taylor on board, it would seem less likely the Colts are preparing to pay up to keep Mack.

As for Taylor, the longtime Badgers back possesses sprinter speed totaled a staggering 6,174 rushing yards in three seasons. Taylor’s worst season among those featured 1,977 yards. He posted back-to-back 2,000-yard campaigns in 2018 and ’19. Taylor, who scored 55 touchdowns in college, will play behind one of the NFL’s best offensive lines in Indianapolis.

Dolphins Eyeing RBs In NFL Draft

The Dolphins’ recent track record on early-round running backs leaves much to be desired. Since 2000, the Dolphins have selected just two running backs in the first two rounds. Neither one panned out – they picked Ronnie Brown in 2005 when Aaron Rodgers was still available and went with Daniel Thomas over DeMarco Murray in 2011. This year, the Dolphins may look to buck the trend. 

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The Dolphins are likely to select a running back in the first two days of the draft, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. That may include their No. 26 pick towards the back of the first round or the No. 56 pick in the second.

One team official has been telling people that Georgia’s D’Andre Swift is high on their list. And, per a source who spoke with Jackson, he was set to visit in Miami before the league put the kibosh on travel. Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins left his visit (pre-kibosh) feeling like the Dolphins were infatuated with him. There’s also Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, who went to dinner with RB coach Eric Studesville. Plus, they’ve been in contact with FSU’s Cam Akers. Dobbins and Swift could be in the mix at No. 26, Jackson hears, while Taylor, Akers, and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire seem to be candidates at No. 56.

If the Dolphins want Swift or Dobbins, they’ll probably have to pounce on them in the first round. Swift has been on the NFL radar since his freshman season, when he averaged 7.6 yards per carry. The noise around him is still substantial after he ran for 1,218 yards and seven touchdowns. Dobbins, meanwhile, is coming off of a 2,000-yard campaign, his third straight season past the century mark.

Jonathan Taylor Declares For Draft

One of the most productive players in recent college football history is leaving school early. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor will forego his final year of college eligibility to enter the 2020 NFL Draft, he announced in a video posted to Twitter.

Taylor isn’t considered to be a first-round pick by most analysts as of right now, but he’ll be among the first handful of running backs to be selected and has the potential to rise throughout the process. In his latest mock draft, Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller had Taylor getting taken 54th overall. Taylor became a starter at Wisconsin as a freshman, and instantly started etching his name in the record books. During Wisconsin’s bowl game this past week, he became the second college player ever to have multiple 2,000 yard rushing seasons.

He finished with at least 1,977 rushing yards in all three of his college seasons, and has the most ever by any player through his junior season. He was a unanimous first-team All-American in each of the past two seasons, and won the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back in each of the past two years as well. The Badgers legend was a non-factor in the passing game his first two years, but managed to catch 26 passes for 252 yards and five touchdowns in this most recent campaign. That aspect of his game will be crucial for his draft stock.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.