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Schefter: Bucs Eyed Jonathan Taylor in 2020 NFL Draft If Tristan Wirfs Was Taken

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVNovember 28, 2021

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) carries the during the second half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills in Orchard park, N.Y., Sunday Nov. 21, 2020. (AP/ Photo Jeffrey T. Barnes)
AP/ Photo Jeffrey T. Barnes

NFL leading rusher Jonathan Taylor was nearly teammates with Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, who leads the league in passing yards per game.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Buccaneers were eying Taylor in the 2020 NFL draft if Tristan Wirfs were unavailable.

The Buccaneers selected Wirfs with the No. 13 overall pick. Taylor was the No. 41 overall selection when he went to Indianapolis.

"I loved him," Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians told reporters of Taylor. "He could do it all, and it was just a matter of time—playing behind that offensive line—that he was going to be the force that he is."

This is a situation wherein hindsight may be coloring the lenses. If the Buccaneers liked Taylor enough that they would have selected him at No. 13 overall, logic would dictate that they wouldn't have allowed him to sit on the draft board nine picks into the second round. Tampa had the No. 45 pick in the second round; the team could have easily leapfrogged the Colts and grabbed Taylor without giving up much draft capital.

The Bucs have managed to cobble together a solid running game without Taylor in the fold, with Leonard Fournette rushing for 521 yards and four touchdowns this season. Still, that's a far cry from the 1,122 yards and 13 scores that Taylor has put up.

It's hard to imagine how unstoppable the Tampa offense would be if Taylor were in Fournette's spot.