Packers RB Patrick Taylor is Ready for His Long Awaited Chance

The cliche in the NFL is that when injuries hit, it’s “next man up.” But there is a story behind each player’s journey to the NFL and this week, the opportunity has arrived for Packers running back Patrick Taylor.

Taylor has had a long and unorthodox road to the Packers lineup. The former University of Memphis star suffered a serious foot injury in the season opener of his senior year in college in 2019. He returned to action but the injury didn’t heal properly and he needed another operation after the season. That meant NFL teams knew he probably wouldn’t be able to play in 2020 which was his rookie year.

As a result, Taylor was not drafted but he did sign with the Packers as an undrafted free agent. He spent last season on the injured reserve and returned to the team for training camp this year. Taylor showed potential during training camp and in the preseason but was beaten out for the third running back job by Kylin Hill, the Packers seventh round pick in this year’s draft. The Packers signed him to the practice squad.

Unfortunately, Hill was lost for the season to a knee injury suffered while returning a kick against the Cardinals. Taylor was promoted to the active roster before the Chiefs game and saw his first NFL action, playing eight snaps on special teams.

When Aaron Jones went down with a sprained MCL last week against Seattle, Taylor became the only healthy running back behind A.J. Dillon.

Taylor was ready for his opportunity. “I was just watching the game,” Taylor explained. “I was full of emotion when they said, ‘You’re getting ready to go in.’ But it was controlled emotion. So, I was smiling in my head but, in that moment, I was focused. I was zoned in, locked in. But that moment was a great moment, being able to go in and have a good run and have a first down. I was ready when my number was called.”

Taylor saw his first action on offense, playing three snaps late in the game. He carried the ball twice and gained seven yards. On his first carry, he gained five yards. He picked up a first down on his second carry which came on a 2nd-and-1 situation. The first down helped keep the Packers drive alive and it led to a key touchdown to clinch the win.

It was a special moment for Taylor who had worked hard to get to this point. “I would say I had that epiphany this past Sunday when I ran out onto the field for the first time, with the 1s, being in the huddle with Aaron Rodgers,” Taylor told reporters this week. “It was so crazy. It was so dope. Oh, my gosh. And snow was starting to fall, so I would say definitely going through what I went through and being put in that position, it was like, ‘Man, I’m so thankful for my journey and where I am today.’”

Taylor has the confidence of his teammates. They recognize his football intelligence and his work ethic as well as his athletic ability. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who isn’t the easiest player to gain the confidence of, had this to say about Taylor this week. “PT can handle a lot. He’s been with us for a while now, working on the scout team a bunch and now he’s got an opportunity. I think he’s a smart kid. We didn’t worry about anything throwing him in there late in the game, giving him a couple carriers. He’s a tough, hard runner, a good one-cut back. I think he can do a lot in the passing game. He’s got good hands and is a good route runner. So, I think it’s a great opportunity for him. I expect PT to get plenty of playing time and to play well.”

Taylor should see more action this week against the Vikings with Jones already having been ruled out of this game. If the coaching staff gives Taylor the same workload that the Packers RB2 has gotten until this point, he will likely get between five and 10 carries in this game. The scouting reports on Taylor also indicate that he is a good receiver and the Packers may try to throw him some passes his way to see how effective he can be catching passes out of the backfield.

If Taylor plays well, he can set himself up for a bigger role in the future whether it’s with the Packers or elsewhere in the NFL.

Taylor’s road to the NFL wasn’t as smooth as he had hoped, but he has no regrets. “Through everything that I’ve been through, I would definitely go through it again just because I would say throughout all that, I became a better son, a better teammate, a better brother,” Taylor said. “And it taught me to be humble and definitely appreciate what you have now and be in the moment. I’m definitely appreciative of the opportunity I have now. And it makes me that much more thankful.”

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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16 points

Comments (14)

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

November 20, 2021 at 12:12 pm

He was good in the passing game in college, even played a bit in the slot, but that is high praise from Rodgers on both his readiness and ability to run routes. Perhaps we see more from him on Sunday than just the hard yards we might have expected.

13 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:38 am

He is a better RB than Hill. As long as his knee stays strong he will perform.

1 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 20, 2021 at 12:36 pm

Classic sports-theater - when the understudy steps in for the star on the big stage. Will his star shine - or remain an understudy? A compelling watch.

5 points
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dobber's picture

November 20, 2021 at 12:37 pm

The biggest knocks on him coming out of college that I found were that he lacks decisiveness/vision as a runner and didn't play to his size or power. Hopefully he can pass pro, otherwise he won't be on the field much at all.

5 points
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mrtundra's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:51 am

Patrick Taylor will be on the field everytime Dillon needs a breather. I also look for DeGuara, to line up in the back field, once in a while, to add a new wrinkle/concern for the vikings defensive game plan. Keep them guessing and move those chains! GO PACK, GO!!!

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

If they continue to show empty sets then blocking is a moot point. I would use him on wagon routes and the hook zones to move Barr out of position. Turner has to show up and Zimmer will stunt Patrick and Newman all game long. Inside draw game should be in the game plan.

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

If they continue to show empty sets then blocking is a moot point. I would use him on wagon routes and the hook zones to move Barr out of position. Turner has to show up and Zimmer will stunt Patrick and Newman all game long. Inside draw game should be in the game plan.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

November 21, 2021 at 10:42 am

If they continue to show empty sets then blocking is a moot point. I would use him on wagon routes and the hook zones to move Barr out of position. Turner has to show up and Zimmer will stunt Patrick and Newman all game long. Inside draw game should be in the game plan.

0 points
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Lphill's picture

November 20, 2021 at 01:18 pm

How much does Hill regret taking that ball out of the end zone , missed opportunities now hopefully he can rebound .

2 points
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porupack's picture

November 20, 2021 at 01:30 pm

Nice article and timely. THanks for featuring PT! Hope he gets a breakout game, and we'll be cheering him on.

13 points
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PhantomII's picture

November 20, 2021 at 07:18 pm

Very tall for a RB. 40 time was slow in 4.6's. Looks like he runs into contact strait up. Seemed to have pretty good power through tackles in college though. Highlights on you tube didn't show a single catch. He's not twitchy or elusive. I noticed a few plays he squeezed through the line at a pretty good clip and nobody caught him. AR says he has good note habits. He wants to succeed and appears to be doing his due diligence. Hopefully he can give the Vikings some headaches. He's still on the roster so, let's be pleasantly surprised. Both RB's are not going down easy. Time for some smash mouth football. I would still like some speed in the backfield, but this will be a good change-up to the norm. I hope the OL can open a few yards for the speed to build up.

4 points
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Coldworld's picture

November 21, 2021 at 09:23 am

He’s an inch shorter than James Starks, and an inch taller than Dillon and Ahman Green are. I wouldn’t say that was exceptional.

His combine speed for the 40 was 4.57. That’s about the midpoint for RBs that year, but, for those not familiar, that was run on a foot that needed subsequent surgery, which is why he effectively redshirted, so it may be less accurate as a measure.
I’m not sure how explosive he is. His 7.14 RAS chart suggests not particularly, but that too may suffer from being on an inadequately healed foot.

He is in any case a power type not a quick motion guy. However one thing was extremely clear in preseason is that he consistently falls forward and gets yards. Hard to do that running upright, looking at his couple of carries last week, the clear forward lean is easily visible, at least in shorter yardage situations.

2 points
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Crankbait's picture

November 21, 2021 at 05:51 am

Best of luck to this very well grounded young man. I will be rooting for you today ...go get 'em !

2 points
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mrtundra's picture

November 21, 2021 at 07:46 am

If Patrick can protect the ball when he carries it, he will be just fine. Practice and game prep should have told him of how the vikings like to strip the ball when tackling the ball carrier. PROTECT THE BALL!!! GO PACK, GO!!!

2 points
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