LSU Legend and NFL Hall of Famer Jim Taylor Passes Away
Legendary LSU fullback, and the first Vince Lombardi era Green Bay Packer inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, Jim Taylor has passed away at the age of 83.
The Baton Rouge native was a First Team All-SEC and First Team All-American for LSU in 1957. He was also named MVP of the 1957 Senior Bowl. Taylor was a backfield mate of LSU's only Heisman Trophy winner, Billy Cannon, who passed away earlier this year.
After his amazing LSU career, he was drafted in the second round of the 1958 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. In today's standards, a second round pick is looked at as a solid step down from a Top 15 pick...but in 1958, Taylor was selected at #15 overall, since there were only 13 picks in the first round. Effectively, Taylor would have been a first round pick by today's standards.
Taylor was selected at an interesting time in Green Bay Packers history. He was technically drafted by Head Coach Lisle Blackbourn, and not Vince Lombardi. Blackbourn was dismissed before the end of the 1958 NFL Draft. He was replaced by Ray McLean, and Lombardi wouldn't actually take over until 1959.
It was after Lombardi took over that Taylor's career blossomed.
He was joined in the Packers backfield by Paul Hournung, and they formed a duo known as "Thunder and Lightning", with Taylor providing the powerful "thunder" of that combo.
By 1960, Taylor had the attention of the NFL. Leading the league in carries (230 that season) along with 1,101 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Taylor ended his NFL career with a Super Bowl Championship (Super Bowl I) and 4 NFL Championships. He was a 5 time Pro Bowl selection, 3 time All-Pro, and the NFL MVP in 1962. He led the NFL in rushing yards once, and touchdowns twice.
At the end of his career, he brought legitimacy to the expansion New Orleans Saints organization for the 1967 season. Being from Baton Rouge, and an LSU star, he was a welcome addition to the start of Louisiana's pro football franchise. Though he never contributed to the franchise in a meaningful way on the field (he only had 390 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns) he represented a serious commitment to football from the Saints organization. The team eventually retired Taylor's #31.