According to NFL.com’s Marc Sessler, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is his potential first-time career Pro Bowl candidate for the Horseshoe—among his chosen representatives for each AFC team respectively:
RB · Year 2
If Carson Wentz thrives, he’s not only Pro Bowl fodder, but Philip Rivers-esque Comeback Player of the Year material. I’m not sold on that feel-good narrative, but I harbor zero doubts about the rise of Taylor as the engine behind Indy’s attack. Nor do I fret over Marlon Mack stealing away the lead role from a second-year back who was a picture of dominance over his final five games of the 2020 regular season, allowing him to finish third league-wide in rushing. Taylor’s not Derrick Henry or Nick Chubb, but his on-field growth reads as legitimate.
During his debut campaign, Taylor started a bit slow out of the gates initially for the Colts.
One, because he had to get acclimated with the Colts new offense, playbook, and the speed/physicality of the NFL game—even while coming off a limited training camp and organized team practices because of COVID-19 lockdowns.
And two, Taylor wasn’t expected to be the starter early on as a rookie, as he was projected to be eased into a ‘between the tackles’ platoon with 2019’s 1,000 yard rusher Marlon Mack—as part of a highly touted “1-2 punch”.
However, as he got increasingly comfortable with more playing time and reps, Taylor caught fire down the stretch for the Colts—as no running back was arguably better or more productive late in the season other than Tennessee Titans’ All-Pro Derrick Henry.
The game seemingly slowed down for Taylor, and he began to display his unique combination of speed, power, explosion, vision, and even a little ‘shake’ for the listed 5’10”, 226 pound big-bodied back.
On the season, Taylor rushed to the tune of 1,169 rushing yards on 232 carries (5.0 ypc. avg.) and 11 rushing touchdowns—as he led all rookie rushers in 2020.
As he gets even more comfortable in 2021, the 2nd-year Taylor should quickly cement himself as one of the league’s top running backs—after an already breakout rookie season.
He appears poised to become the ‘next great bellcow’ in Indianapolis following the likes of franchise greats Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Edgerrin James—if all goes according to plan.
That being said, Taylor faces tough competition in the AFC among running backs for a potential Pro Bowl nod, as Henry, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, and Austin Ekeler—among others, all play in the same talented conference.
It’s worth noting that while Taylor is a very strong candidate for a projected first career Pro Bowl nod this upcoming season, both Braden Smith and Kenny Moore belong in any possible conversations too.
Each player was snubbed last season and could be equally well-deserving again.
However, all three are Colts’ names to watch for being voted into their first career Pro Bowl during 2021.