Jonathan Taylor was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 41st pick in the 2020 NFL draft. He finished his three year career at Wisconsin with 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns on 926 carries. Taylor leaves Wisconsin as one of the best running backs to ever come out of Madison. Who takes his share of the load in 2020? Below are three players I expect to be in the backfield for Wisconsin Football this year.
Groshek is a senior running back who headlines a relatively young position. Not only can Groshek run the ball, but he serves as solid pass blocker. Groshek is also capable of taking screens out of the backfield and serving as a wildcat option quarterback, thanks to his days as a high school quarterback. In 2019, Groshek rushed for 194 yards and two touchdowns while also catching 29 passes for 289 yards. While Groshek is no Jonathan Taylor, he has the ability to serve as an asset in the backfield both as a runner and a pass catcher. It’s unclear if Groshek will be a three down back this year, but expect him to receive a ton of snaps and be the versatile back in Paul Chryst and Joe Rudolph’s offense in 2020.
Watson enters his sophomore year after showing glimpses of flash and potential in 2019. Watson was a four star recruit out of high school prior to coming to Madison. Watson received most of his playing time in mop up time a year ago, but I expect Watson to have a fairly large role in 2020. Watson carried the ball 74 times for 331 yards and two touchdowns in 2020. After receiving some valuable reps as freshman in 2019, don’t be shocked if Watson is lined up in the backfield on the first offensive snap against Indiana September 4.
Berger comes to Wisconisn as a member of the 2020 recruiting class. Berger committed to Wisconsin on January 4th at the Army All-America Bowl. Berger chose Wisconisn over UCLA, Penn State, LSU, Rutgers, and other major programs. While he is going to need time to get his feet wet in a college system, there’s no doubt about the hype and talent Berger brings. I expect Berger to see time in the running back rotation in 2020, although how much time he will see is still in question.
Jonathan Taylor is not a player a team can replace immediately. I believe 2020 will be a running back by committee team. I expect Groshek and Watson to receive a bulk of the snaps, especially early in the season. They have the reps and experience to do so. I am eager to see what Berger brings in 2020. I expect him to receive valuable reps as the year progresses. It’s too early to see if there is another Jonathan Taylor on this roster, but there’s certainly young talent and upside.
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