Jonathan Taylor’s Strengths:
When viewing Jonathan Taylor’s tape, it is impossible to come away unimpressed with his athleticism and vision. In a zone scheme, Taylor should thrive. What sets Taylor apart is his size and speed combination. Running a 4.39 at the NFL combine puts him in the 97th percentile of running backs.
In fact, Taylor wasn’t only fast, he put on a show at the combine, wowing those that were observing. He does not only possess incredible straight-line speed, but he can also make a quick cut that will set him loose for a long touchdown.
When you pair that with his impressive balance and strength, he becomes a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Strength and quickness combination:
This is exactly what an offensive coordinator dreams of. As you can see here, Taylor takes the handoff and sees a gap and immediately attacks it. As he climbs to the next level, he sheds an arm tackle and continues to drive upfield. When it appears as though he is cut off by a defender, he takes a quick stutter step that leaves the defender behind. If not for the next defender coming across to help, Taylor may have gone the distance.
Having a running back that can do this in the open field is lethal. While the Chiefs have several options at running back, none of them have this combination of size and quickness. If the Chiefs have a player like Jonathan Taylor in the backfield, it would create a whole new challenge for opposing defenses. This is a rare skill set that is akin to Ezekiel Elliot or Saquon Barkley.
Contact balance and ability to fall forward:
One of the most underappreciated and overlooked aspects of a talented running back is their ability to fall forward for extra yards. When Kareem Hunt was in Kansas City, this was one of the many elements of his game that made him a special talent. Taylor may not have the same contact balance that Hunt has, but he is very good at getting those last few yards.
Here one can see Taylor’s vision again. He recognizes that his gap is about to close and immediately cuts it back inside. He is hit by a defender but does not go down. Instead, he drives that defender upfield and quickly gathers more tacklers. Taylor pushes that pile even further upfield and against the odds, falls forward for a first down. This style of running is easily transferrable to the NFL.