RB J.J. Taylor, Arizona*

5’5” – 185 lbs. – 4.61

Started one of four games played as a freshman, carrying the ball 38 times before sustaining a season-ending broken ankle which led him to redshirt. Started three of twelve games the following year and rushed 146-847-5 (5.8), then followed that up with his most productive season, a 255-1,434-6 (5.6) campaign as a redshirt sophomore. Totaled 148-721-5 (4.9) as a junior before declaring for the draft. Also caught a total of 62 passes over his collegiate career, 32 of which came last year, and returned kicks the past two seasons. Ball security has been an issue, with nine fumbles over 693 career touches; also has small hands, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise given that he’s one of the shortest pro prospects in recent memory.

Played in a shotgun-based offense, predominantly carrying the ball off-tackle or on sweeps. Gets up to speed quickly, with some explosiveness to his movements; impressive ability to plant and hit cutback lanes. Timed speed wasn’t particularly fast at the Combine, but looks like he was shot out of a cannon when he finds a crease; doesn’t make a lot of defenders miss, tending to barrel into them instead. Surprisingly powerful for such a small back, both because of his physical running style and because he’s able to drop his pad level low. Exacts a price from defenders who try to tackle him and is capable of bouncing off of the occasional attempt Contact balance is below-average but is able to fall forward at the end of a respectable amount of his runs. Flashes a nasty spin move to escape from early penetration.

Stayed on the field on passing downs, making your typical releases into the flats but also running patterns further downfield or over the middle. Has a small catch radius and saw him drop a high pass during the games reviewed. However, has been making strides as a receiver and looks like a potential passing-down back in the future, with the ability to catch the ball in space and weave through lanes. Generally gives solid effort as a blocker; looks alert in pass protection, although he can struggle to absorb contact and will probably need to resort to going low on pass-rushers.

One of the most entertaining prospects to watch in this year’s class because of his violent running style, sharp cuts, and burst, but who may need to tone it down at the next level to stay healthy. The Combine didn’t go his way, but still looks like he might stand a chance of coming off the board in the mid-rounds as a change-of-pace back.

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