Wisconsin pro day: Jonathan Taylor displays his pass-catching skills while showcasing his versatility


While only taking part in positional drills during Wisconsin’s pro day, running back Jonathan Taylor still found a way to impress the slew of NFL scouts that were on hand during Wednesday’s work out. 

Taylor, who is about two weeks removed from his impressive performance at the NFL combine, wanted to show scouts that he can be a reliable pass catcher at the next level. The two-time Doak Walker Award winner, Taylor, who caught an array of passes on Wednesday, was used more as a receiver last season, catching five touchdown passes after catching just eight total passes during his first three years in Madison. Despite his lack of eye-popping statistics as a receiver, Taylor, who rushed for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns at Wisconsin, is considered among the top-two running back prospects in the draft along with Georgia’s D’Andre Swift. 

“One of the things I wanted to do (on Wednesday) was just check the box (and for scouts to) understand that I am a natural pass catcher,” Taylor told NFL Network following the Badgers’ pro day. “I got a chance to display that a little bit this past season, but it was just for one year, so I wanted to make sure that I showed scouts, coaches, everybody that I was a natural pass catcher. Whether it was from the slot, empty (set) or out of the backfield.” 

Despite his solid performance, Taylor did not give him himself a perfect score. 

“I’d like to say I got a 95%,” he said. “There was one pivot route where I kind of miss-stepped. It was a low ball, and I missed it. But I just got it clean the first side on the other side (of the field).”

More Badgers look to make their mark

While Taylor reinforced his status as one of the top backs in the 2020 draft, he wasn’t the only Badger that likely improved his draft stock on Wednesday. Receiver Quintez Cephus, who ran a disappointing 4.73 in the 40-yard-dash at the combine, ran a 4.56 on Wednesday. Cephus, who averaged 16.1 yards per catch at Wisconsin, also recorded several impressive catches that included a leaping end-zone reception. 

Linebacker Zack Baun, tabbed as the fourth-best linebacker in CBS Sports’ 2020 prospect rankings, ran a slightly faster time in the 20-yard shuffle (4.08 seconds) than he did at the combine. Baun, who recorded 12.5 sacks last fall, was tabbed as the Dolphins’ second round pick in CBS draft analyst Chris Trapasso’s seven-round mock draft. Trapasso also has the Dolphins selecting Taylor with the 26th overall pick. 

Fellow linebacker Chris Orr, who was not invited to last month’s combine, enjoyed an impressive performance during Wednesday’s pro day. Orr, currently tabbed as a possible late-round pick, matched Baun’s combine 40-yard-dash result on Wednesday with a time of 4.65 seconds. He was even more impressive during the 20-yard shuffle, as his time of 4.08 seconds would have paced his peers at the combine. 





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