With RB3 Role Up for Grabs, Keep Your Eyes on Patrick Taylor

The Green Bay Packers RB3 role will be up for grabs this summer, and a name to keep your eyes on is second-year player Patrick Taylor.

With Aaron Jones back under contract and AJ Dillon preparing for a much larger workload, it's not as if the Green Bay Packers are hurting at the running back position--in fact, they're sitting pretty. But as we all know, injuries happen, and before the 2020 draft took place, Matt LaFleur mentioned how he'd like to have a third running back option, to provide Jones and Jamaal Williams with the opportunity to take some snaps off.
 
And not that this will be the norm in 2021 by any means, but in Green Bay's divisional playoff win over the Los Angeles Rams, we saw LaFleur unleash his trio of running backs to near perfection. 
 
With so many members of the 2020 roster back for this upcoming season, there aren't many positional battles that will be taking place. However, one wide-open competition will be for that RB3 role, and someone to keep your eyes on as OTAs, mini-camp, and training camp begins is second-year player Patrick Taylor. 
 
Taylor was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Memphis after last year's draft, and the 2020 season was essentially a redshirt year for him. While he would participate in a few practices, Taylor spent most of the season on the non-football injury list after undergoing offseason foot surgery for an injury that he sustained during his final season at Memphis. 
 
During his college career, Taylor had to split time with a loaded running back room that at times included Antonio Gibson, Darrell Henderson, Tony Pollard, and Kenneth Gainwell--but his skill-set makes him a very good fit for this LaFleur offense.
 
Standing 6'3" and weighing 223 pounds, Taylor has good size and was effective both in the running game and as a pass-catcher. Taylor's 2019 season was cut short due to injury, and had he been healthy for it, he very well could have been drafted--especially after a hot start where he rushed for 117 yards against Ole Miss. His best season came in 2018 when he rushed for 1,122 yards at 5.4 yards per carry and with 16 touchdowns. 
 
The year before in 2017, he was also quite effective, averaging 5.5 yards per carry and finding the end zone 13 times on the ground. Even as a freshman in 2016, Taylor still scored two touchdowns on the ground and tallied almost 6 yards per carry and 546 total rushing yards--and keep in mind, he did this while playing with four other backs currently in the NFL.
 
In the passing game, Taylor has some experience lined up in the slot, which as we've seen, is valuable in the LaFleur offense, but he did most of his damage as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Taylor was targeted 79 times for his career, hauling in 70 percent of those passes for 434 yards along with three touchdowns. 
 
And if we are going to discuss Taylor, we also have to mention his ability in pass protection. This again is another area of emphasis in the LaFleur offense and is something that he expects all of his running backs to be capable of. According to PFF, Taylor's pass-blocking grade of 79.0 in 2019 would have been the second-highest among qualified running backs had he not been injured.
 
With all of that said, while looking at pre-draft reports once a prospect is in the NFL doesn't mean a whole lot; I thought it was worth looking at what a few draft analysts had to say about Taylor since we haven't seen him since the 2019 season at Memphis. When it came to areas to improve upon, the common theme was his vision--so that will be worth monitoring once camp unfolds.
 
Now, let's recap: Taylor was highly productive on the ground--check. He was effective in the passing game--check. He has experience in the slot--check. And he can hold his own in pass protection--check. 
 
That sounds like a Matt LaFleur running back to me. 
 
Taylor will be competing for the RB3 role with Dexter Williams, Mike Weber, and recent seventh-round pick Kylin Hill. As I alluded to initially, regardless of who wins this job, Jones and Dillon will still see a bulk of the snaps. However, there will be some opportunities that come along, and for Taylor, who checks so many key boxes for this offense, he's someone worth keeping an eye on this summer. 

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Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

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15 points

Comments (27)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:04 pm

Wow! Now that you list out all his stats, he seems to be someone that could have been very good last year but for his injuries.

Of course, college records don't always translate to NFL production, but lets hope it does in his case. Maybe this year the Packers' RB3 and RB4 will be good enough to rotate them in to give AJ and Dillon some rest down the stretch.

3 points
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mnbadger's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:06 pm

AJ 33 is an awesome back, but it looks like we've got a real good crop of versatile football players in the RB room for a change. GPG - FAS!

7 points
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nostradanus's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:16 pm

I absolutely love what Taylor brings to the table, Big, tough, fast, good hands, willing blocker and don't under estimate the unsung Mike Weber (his Ohio state film is excellent) and of course K. Hill who seems to have a bit of Jamal Williams in him. With the flexible Practice Squad rules I could see all three of these guys sticking around and contributing at some point. What about Dexter Williams you may ask? No just no.
That is all...

8 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:31 pm

Nostra....my prophecy has Hill showing he has more AJ in him. Watching his college video, the similarities are there. Powerful, elusive, one cut runner who follows his big men then makes tacklers miss with vision and and elusiveness and a second gear at the second level.

There will probably not be 4 RBs on the 53...but if Love has to take the snaps...who knows? Taylor is an intriguing talent.

4 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

May 10, 2021 at 01:18 pm

I'm thinking RB3 and RB4 would be possible by having them take a substantial amount of ST snaps.

1 points
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nostradanus's picture

May 10, 2021 at 08:57 pm

He’s a scrapper that’s for sure ;-)

0 points
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MajWhiplash's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:32 pm

Someone that big that really cant crack the starter or backup starter position more then likely is too slow and is injury prone. I see a foot injury but how many small nagging injuries kept him from being consistent? Something for sure kept this guy from being a prime running back.

-3 points
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NoNonsense's picture

May 10, 2021 at 03:08 pm

They clearly state that Taylor shared the backfield with 3 or 4 other RBs throughout college that are currently in the NFL.

I was excited about Taylor last year because he's a beast. Big, fast, can block and catch. I was disappointed we didn't get to see him then but he should be worth the wait.

Between him and Kylin Hill we have some very nice backup options to the top two guys. If Lafleur wants to play smashmouth football on offense we seem to have the horses to make it work. Can't wait for preseason, want to see these guys in action along with all the new offensive lineman.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

May 10, 2021 at 03:27 pm

We could possibly move to a back up for both Dillon and Jones. Such different types. With the way this offense is shaping, less receiver depth and more RB.

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

May 10, 2021 at 12:37 pm

If it does not work out with Rodgers then having a loaded OL and talented RB room can make the play book work more efficiently for Matt making Love more effective.

You cannot run 70% of the time and expect to make the playoffs...just like the MM O could not pass 70% and make the playoffs. But a 50/50 maybe 60/40 run pass? The NFL is always changing, adapting.

3 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 10, 2021 at 01:03 pm

Taylor reminds me of a former Packer RB - James Starks - height, weight, 40, running style (and injuries). Starks actually turned into a decent RB - with a 7 yr. career. If Taylor can develop - approximately like Starks did - certainly he can be an useful 3rd.

4 points
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DarkHorse833's picture

May 12, 2021 at 10:30 am

yo alberta...he ain't james starks...this guy is way better...i seen his tape.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 10, 2021 at 01:00 pm

Holy Hanna that is a great pic of Patrick! Looks like he wants to 'knock the snot out of someone!' Love players like that! Going to be fun watching this team this upcoming year regardless of the drama at QB.

9 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 10, 2021 at 01:07 pm

And after seeing some of his college tape - he did.

1 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 10, 2021 at 02:47 pm

Thanks!

Going to have to find time and check him out. He looks like he should be playing LB!

0 points
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PeteK's picture

May 10, 2021 at 03:42 pm

I'm with you Knock. I like our draft and I think our defense and offense will be improved. Ar's hissy fit will fade.

3 points
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Turophile's picture

May 11, 2021 at 04:46 am

I was looking at this years 7th round pick, Kylin Hill for RB3, partly because he was the only one of the 60+ draft players I liked this year that the Packers actually picked...............but mainly because he is this years shiny new toy.

Doesn't make much sense really, to choose between him and Taylor at this time.............. either could be the no.3.

3 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

May 10, 2021 at 04:01 pm

Correct - especially as at least 4 running backs will be needed to endure the entire season.

-1 points
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Fenwoodian's picture

May 10, 2021 at 04:47 pm

.
If we've got too many good running backs this year, maybe we move one of them to receiver?

A few years ago the Pack moved Montgomery from receiver to running back. Maybe this is the year to do the reverse?

-3 points
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CheesyTex's picture

May 10, 2021 at 05:11 pm

Tough transition to make in a short time, but you never know.

IMO that Amari Rodgers is an accomplished WR in a RB body, and exactly what the Packers have been needing in the slot.

2 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

May 10, 2021 at 08:19 pm

I mean it took Tebow what 12-years or more to go from QB to a TE and signing with the Jaguars. :)

1 points
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Turophile's picture

May 11, 2021 at 04:45 am

At 5'9.5", 212lbs, he does have a solid RBs build. He should be a YAC monster.

1 points
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CheesyTex's picture

May 10, 2021 at 05:11 pm

Tough transition to make in a short time, but you never know.

IMO that Amari Rodgers is an accomplished WR in a RB body, and exactly what the Packers have been needing in the slot.

0 points
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4thandinches's picture

May 10, 2021 at 10:00 pm

Thank you Paul! It's articles like this that make CHTV the best. A well researched article getting me all hot n bothered about an idfa who was injured, and might be competing for the 3rd RB role. Really helping me through the offseason!

2 points
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packmann's picture

May 10, 2021 at 10:19 pm

I loved the 7th round pickup of Hill and didn't even know we had Taylor stashed on the roster! Now I like our running back room even more!

2 points
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HankScorpio's picture

May 11, 2021 at 05:35 am

I liked Tayior in the draft last year. I think he's got a good shot at sticking on the final 53 with Jamaal Williams gone. It'll come down to Dexter Williams, Khylin Hill and Taylor for 1 or 2 spots. I know I'd rank Dexter Williams last in that pecking order.

2 points
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packer132's picture

May 11, 2021 at 09:16 pm

Yes; Dexter has seen the field with a couple of errors (punt) and not shown much. Another competitive position for training camp. I liked Jamaal but not sorry he is gone with a couple of cheaper options who could make an impact. Every little bit of savings helps, as I think he would have been about $3 million.

0 points
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