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Arizona RB J.J. Taylor to sign with New England Patriots as undrafted free agent

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most productive running backs in Arizona Wildcats history is getting a shot at the next level.

J.J. Taylor, who ran for more than 3,200 yards in his UA career, signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free on Saturday, according to Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star and Taylor’s high school Twitter account:

The 5-foot-6 Taylor ran for 721 yards and five touchdowns while catching 32 passes for 289 yards in 2019 as a redshirt junior, battling an ankle injury in late September that caused him to miss two games. For his career he ranks fifth in UA history with 3,263 rushing yards and his 4,722 all-purpose yards are sixth-most in Tucson.

Taylor’s combination of strength and elusiveness could allow him to carve out a role at the next level, though he will need to show more as a pass-catcher. He caught 62 passes for 487 yards and two touchdowns in his UA career, with 289 of those yards coming in 2019.

Some mock drafts projected him as a late-round pick. Here’s what NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein says about Taylor’s NFL potential:

Short but stout runner whose running style is more power back than water bug. Taylor has been a productive college back who runs decisively both inside and outside, but does not have the burst or wiggle teams are looking for from smaller runners. His size is a hindrance but he might have an outside shot if he can rebrand as a matchup pass catcher out of the backfield.