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Best Bet to Lead the NFL in Rushing Yards in 2022

By Eric Pauly

Jonathan Taylor won the NFL’s rushing trophy in 2021 with 1,8111 yards on 332 carries, and he is the odds on favourite to win the rushing title again. Even though Derrick Henry is healthy and the Colts traded for Matt Ryan, I still believe Taylor will lead the pack again in 2022. 

While +450 odds are not the best for a future of this magnitude, this pick is simple - I believe Jonathan Taylor is a top three running back in the NFL, he is his team’s best offensive weapon, and the Colts live off of the run game.

Taylor’s 332 attempts last season led the NFL, and I believe he will put up around 300 carries again this season. The Colts' offensive line is best at run blocking, so Taylor will have help from his teammates in the trenches. The Colts have two capable running backs behind him in the depth chart, but this will be just to mix up packages. I do not believe the Colts will try to save Taylor for a playoff run - he is their best weapon and they need to let him go crazy.

Taylor had 14 20+ yard touchdown runs last season, including an 83-yard rush. What makes Taylor so good is that he has the size, speed, and open-field tackle-breaking ability to break off chunk runs every time he gets the ball. Taylor’s rushing output is not due only to his volume of carries, but mostly his ability to maximize each and every carry he gets this season.

Matt Ryan should certainly give the Colts offense more of the ability to move the ball down the field, but Taylor is clearly the bigger threat. With the possibility of the long ball, teams may not be able to stack the box against Taylor, giving him the opportunity to rush against light sets. Taylor is so strong and fast that one defender cannot always bring him down. If he faces a light box, he can make one cut and take the ball to the house to accumulate more and more yards as the season goes on.

When looking at other candidates to lead the league in rushing - no one has a situation quite like Taylor. While King Henry is back, his team lost weapons outside as well as some pieces on their offensive line. Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, and Joe Mixon round out the top five favourites, but I have concerns for each of those players as well. Chubb shares a backfield, and Cook and Mixon, though top rushers, played on teams with limited success on the ground each week.

Taylor not only has the skill set, but he has the opportunity to lead the league in rushing for a second straight season.

PICK: Jonathan Taylor +450 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

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