Jonathan Taylor had done his research heading into the 天天乐棋牌 NFL draft.
Curious about where he might end up, the former University of Wisconsin football star had looked into what teams needed tailbacks. Some fell into the pressing-need category, followed by a group where the urgency wasn’t as great but the position likely would be addressed among the team’s picks.
Indianapolis, as far as Taylor was concerned, wasn’t among the teams in those two groups. So he was as surprised as anyone when the Colts moved up three spots in the second round last month to select him with the 41st overall pick.
The more digging Taylor did after hearing his name called, the more the pick made sense. When the Colts say they’re committed to the establishing the run, they mean it: Indy had the fifth-most rushing attempts in the NFL last season and finished No. 7 in rushing yards.
And even though they had a returning 1,000-yard rusher in Marlon Mack, a fourth-round pick in 2017, the Colts wanted more playmakers on offense to put around the quarterback they signed as a free agent in the offseason, Phillip Rivers.
“That wasn’t one of the teams that was kind of on the forefront for me,” said Taylor, who produced 6,174 rushing yards and 55 touchdowns during his brilliant three-year run at UW. “Then as you sat down and you started to decipher it, looked at this team and the fit, it’s so similar to the University of Wisconsin — the culture, what they stand for, they want to dominate the line of scrimmage similar to what we did (with the Badgers). I don’t think I could have ended up anywhere better and it just all worked out perfectly.”
It wasn’t the only time Taylor found what he considers a good fit as he makes the transition from college to the pros.
The same week he was selected by the Colts, Taylor was announced as a co-owner of four Madison-Area Toppers Pizza franchise locations.
When Taylor sat down with his marketing team shortly after announcing in January that he was giving up his final year of eligibility at UW to enter the draft, he was asked about the things that made him happy during his time in college. What was he passionate about? Where did he like to eat?
Taylor shared a story about his affinity for Toppers, which had a store not far from where his apartment near Camp Randall Stadium. When he was hungry and the football facilities were closed, Taylor said he’d head over and grab some garlic parmesan boneless wings.
When he was told there was a connection between someone on his marketing team and the business, Taylor was intrigued.
“There’s nothing worse than being tied in with something that you’re not really fired up about,” Taylor said. “That’s just a lose-lose for both parties because then they don’t get the best side of you and you don’t give it your all and you don’t really enjoy it.”
The clincher for Taylor was a conversation with Toppers founder and president Scott Gittrich, who opened the first location in Illinois in 1991 and another in Whitewater, which has become the company’s headquarters, two years later.
Gittrich told Taylor he viewed himself as an underdog who ignored critics who thought he was crazy for getting into the pizza business and competing with heavyweights such as Dominoes and Pizza Hut.
That story resonated with Taylor.
“I just felt like we had similar values as far as me coming from a small school in New Jersey,” Taylor said. “That’s a big step going to a Big Ten school. I believed in myself. I knew that if I went in and learned everything that I could, good things could happen.”
Taylor said it the idea of setting himself up for life after football and being his own boss one day was appealing. So was establishing roots in Madison, what he considers his second 天天乐棋牌.
“It all made sense,” he said.
As did Taylor’s fit with the Colts the more he thought about it. He’s eager to get started with the organization, whenever that might be in these uncertain times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When reached last week, Taylor was fresh off a workout. His other order of business that day: continue reading through the playbook that already had been delivered.
“One of the biggest things for us to do right now is to study, study, study,” Taylor said. “If you look at a normal process, we’d be in rookie minicamp and we’d go to OTAs and it looks like right now we’re not getting that kind of normal process of a rookie going into the league.
“I think at this point a rookie can do is study that playbook because once we’re allowed to open up again, they’re going to expect us to know what’s going on because we had so much time to just sit there and look at the playbook.”