Jonathan Taylor and Tyler Biadasz both had very successful careers as Wisconsin football players. Each earned All-American honors as a part of the Wisconsin football program. Now, they are already both contributing to their respective teams in the NFL.
Both Taylor and Biadasz were named to PFF’s All-Rookie Team.
Jonathan Taylor was drafted in the second round, 41st overall, by the Indianapolis Colts. He had to share snaps for a majority of the season but broke out towards the end of the season. Taylor ran for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged 5.0 yards per carry. Taylor also contributed in the passing game, something a lot of people were worried he couldn’t do. He caught 36 passes for 299 yards and a touchdown.
"There were several rookie running backs who had strong first seasons —making this position a difficult one to nail down to just one player — but the way that Taylor finished the regular season for Indianapolis is what earned first-team honors.From Week 11 through the end of the regular season, Taylor’s 91.2 rushing grade ranked second in the league to Derrick Henry. His 33 missed tackles forced on the ground fell behind only Henry and Nick Chubb over that same stretch. It wasn’t always pretty early on, but Taylor started to find his footing in this run game as the season progressed.Taylor’s receiving ability — not something that was considered a strength coming out of Wisconsin — was a pleasant surprise, as well. He led all rookie running backs in PFF receiving grade (73.3), and he dropped just one of his 38 targets on the year. Continuing to develop that part of his game will be big heading into 2021."
Before he was named to the PFF All-Rookie Team, Taylor was also named to the Pro Football Writers Association (PFWA) All-Rookie Team. Taylor is a big part of the Colts’ future and has a good chance to be one of the best running backs in the league in the next few years.
Tyler Biadasz was drafted by Dallas Cowboys in the fourth round, 146th overall. He was drafted to replace another former Badger, and former All-Pro center, Travis Frederick, who retired early in his career due to injuries.
Biadasz was primarily a backup until starter Joe Looney went down with an injury. He played in 12 games and started four. In 427 offensive snaps, Biadasz had just two penalties, a holding call, and a false start.
"Only two rookie centers played more than 200 offensive snaps this season — Lloyd Cushenberry III at 1,076 and Biadasz at 427. Among 37 qualifying centers, Cushenberry’s 40.5 PFF grade ranked dead last. It’s hard to put a player with that kind of performance on the all-rookie team, which leaves Biadasz as the default selection.Granted, Biadasz didn’t dominate by any means, either. His PFF grade of 53.6 at center this season ranked 33rd among those same 37 qualifying centers, but he did edge out teammate Joe Looney (53.1) on a Dallas offensive line that was interchanging parts all season. The Cowboys will hope some stability brings better results in 2021."
Joe Looney is scheduled to be a free agent, so it looks like Biadasz will slide right into the starting spot on the Cowboys’ offensive line in 2021. They will count on him to be the anchor of what was one of the better offensive lines in the league.
With the NFL announcing awards on Saturday, I wouldn’t be surprised if more for Wisconsin football players earn some honors. T.J. Watt has become one of the best pass rushers in the league and is likely on the shortlist for the Defensive Player of the Year award.
There are a lot of Badgers making an impact in the NFL and with the way the Badgers are playing and recruiting, I think it’s safe to say the numbers will continue to grow in the future.