The second-round drafting of rookie running back Jonathan Taylor in 2020 turned out to be far more important than expected. Originally set to join returning starter Marlon Mack as a backup in the backfield for the Indianapolis Colts, Taylor was quickly thrown into the deep end as the starting RB in Week 1.
During the Colts first game of the season, Mack suffered a season-ending Achilles tear. Without the fourth-year option there to share the backfield load, Taylor put together some incredible rookie-year numbers -- logging 1,468 yards and 12 total touchdowns.
With Taylor primed as the 2021 starter and Mack heading into free agency earlier this offseason, it easily could've been time for the Colts and the injured RB to naturally part ways. But, Mack elected to re-sign with the team back in March.
While it'll certainly mean more competition in the backfield next season, Taylor was thrilled by his veteran teammate's decision to return in 2021.
“I was so happy,” Taylor said, per Colts
Colts RB Jonathan Taylor on getting Marlon Mack back: "I was so happy. Especially watching his camp last year. I knew. I knew he was going to go off."
— Jim Ayello (@jimayello) May 18, 2021
">insider Jim Ayello. “Especially watching his camp last year, I knew. I knew he was going to go off.”
Despite missing Mack all year in 2020, the Colts finished the regular season with a solid 11-5 record before losing to the Buffalo Bills in a first-round, Wild-Card matchup. In addition to Taylor, 2018 fourth-round draft pick Nyheim Hines also emerged as a strong contributor in the run/pass game -- logging 862 yards and seven total touchdowns.
With Carson Wentz now under center and Mack returning to field in 2021, Indianapolis will look to improve on last year's impressive showing.