AFC South

Jonathan Taylor for MVP

Jonathan Taylor
Michael Hickey – Getty Images

There are good running backs, there are great running backs and then there is Jonathan Taylor. There was little doubt the Indianapolis Colts RB would be a star in his second season, but he has been on a different level.

He is one of the front runners for MVP for the 2021-22 NFL season.

Before diving into this historic season lets first look back at his journey to this point.

The Come Up

Dominant Badger

Before coming to the NFL Taylor turned himself into one of the greatest running backs in Wisconsin Badger and College Football history. He spent three seasons (2017-19) with the Badgers in which he put on quite the show.

In his first season he finished with 299 carries, 1,977 rush yards, 13 rush touchdowns, eight receptions, and 95 receiving yards. That gave him a total of 2,072 total yards in only his freshman season. It took former Badger RBs Montee Ball and Melvin Gordon III until their junior and senior years respectively to finish with over 2,000 total yards.

His sophomore year was his most dominant in terms of rushing. He finished with a career high 2,194 rush yards on 307 attempts for 16 TDs. Even more impressive, he was the only NCAAF running back to finish with over 2,000 rush yards.

Going into his Junior year he knew he had to find a way to set the bar even higher. He raised the bar by becoming a semi-reliable receiver as well. He finished with 320 rushes for 2,003 yards (tied 3rd best in the NCAAF) and 21 rush TDs. Adding to that he had 26 receptions for 252 yards and five TDs.

Strong Rookie Season

In the 2020 NFL Draft the Colts took Jonathan Taylor at No. 41 overall in the 2nd round. College Football fans knew exactly what the Colts got, but it was up to Taylor to prove it.

In his first season with Indy he made his name known. In 15 games he finished with 1,169 rush yards for 11 TDs in addition to 36 receptions for 299 yards and one TD. Pretty hard to beat a RB who puts up 1,468 total yards and 12 TDs in his inaugural NFL season.

It then came time for his second season which has been one of the most historic seasons of all time.

A True Jonathan Taylor Season

Historic. A reoccurring word used for this season and in just a minute this will become clear why.

In an expanded 17 game NFL season Taylor leads the entire NFL with 332 carries, 1,811 rush yards, 18 rush TDs, 14 rushes of 20 or more yard and 10 games of 100 plus rush yards. Additionally, he leads all running backs and receivers with 2,171 total yards, 20 total TDs and 119 first downs.

With all of these numbers comes a few records.

History

Franchise

Taylor passed legendary Colts RB Lenny Moore for most rushing TDs in a season which was 16. He set the record for most rush yards in a single season. Plus, he was the fastest to ever reach 1,000 yards.

NFL

Taylor became the youngest player to 2,000 scrimmage yards and 20 TDs in a season. He became the first player to have a game with 175 or more rush yards, four or more rush TDs and one on more receiving TD. He became the fifth player all time to reach 30 career TDs in 28 or fewer games and fifth to have a rush TD in 10 straight games in a season and the first to do it before his 23rd birthday.

Sound historic enough?

Time For a Change

Quarterbacks are at the forefront of every play so it only makes sense they get more attention than most other positions and players. 12 of the last 13 MVP’s have been QB’s. The only non QB? Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson in 2012-13.

Compared to Peterson’s MVP season Taylor has 286 less rush yards, 143 more receiving yards, and seven more total TDs. They also tied with 10 games with 100 or more rush yards.

It feels like the time has come for a fresh face to win the NFL MVP. The other candidates are incredibly talented, but the way Taylor has performed this season is unlike anything seen from a RB in a long time.

Dating back to 1972 only 12 RB’s have won MVP. It is rare, but not impossible. Jonathan Taylor has a chance to become number 13.

The NFL has constantly been skewed towards quarterbacks when it comes to the prestigious MVP award, but the Colts star RB Jonathan Taylor is more than worthy. No matter what occurs, he imprinted his name in NFL history and became one of the premier players to watch.

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