Indianapolis Colts: Marlon Mack brings youth, life to running game

The Indianapolis Colts addressed a lacking running game in the 2017 NFL Draft with fourth-round pick Marlon Mack, who brings life to the backfield.

With Frank Gore, the Indianapolis Colts have one of the most underrated running backs in NFL history in the backfield. Unfortunately, they also have a lead back whose in his early 30s and not the player he once was. Thus, they needed to address that in the 2017 NFL Draft, and did so with Marlon Mack in the fourth round.

Mack is the all-time leading rusher for the University of South Florida, breaking that mark as a junior. He also holds the school record for rushing touchdowns with 32. Mack tied the school’s single-game rushing record in his first-ever game with 275 yards. He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and over 100 yards per game throughout his time at South Florida.

At the NFL Combine, Mack tied for fourth among running backs in the broad jump, posting​ a mark of 125 inches, and also ranked eighth in the vertical jump with a mark of 35.5 inches. His 40-yard dash time of 4.50 seconds placed him ninth among his peers, although a mark of 4.48 would have tied him with the fourth fastest, and he was obviously not far off.

This guy is a slasher, folks. He brings speed and explosive change of direction. Of his 15 rushing touchdowns last year, six were runs over 40 yards. He adds the breakaway, big-play element that the Colts were lacking. Gore and Robert Turbin both have a bruising, run-it-down-your-throat style, whereas Mack is more the slippery, “where-did-he-go?” type of runner.

The biggest negative with Mack is his inability to hold on to the ball, coughing up 12 fumbles in a three-year period. A trait such as that will be utilized by defenders and may prove a significant liability. NFL defences will be well aware of Macks reputation for fumbling and will constantly try to pry the ball away — if they can catch him.

Another area of trouble may be his tendency to bounce outside. Running backs can get away with that in college, but with the speed throughout the NFL, he may find himself in trouble more often than not.

He has improved as a receiver during his time in college and should provide an adequate option out of the backfield. The Colts will find ways to get him the ball and he is the type that can score from anywhere on the field.

Here are a few evaluations of Mack to consider, starting with Mark Dulgerian of NFL.com:

Mack is a slashing, big play running back–everything Frank Gore isn’t. While they hope to get more from their offensive line this season, Mack is no stranger to running and creating behind suspect O-line units at USF. He’ll split carries, but he has the ability to impact this offense from Day 1.

And then Lance Zierlein’s pre-draft evaluation via NFL.com:

Scat back with decent size and blazing getaway speed. Mack has plenty of wiggle to bounce from run lane to run lane and make tacklers miss, but he has a penchant for looking to break runs way outside when the interior becomes too trafficked and he won’t be able to get away with that against NFL speed. Mack is a complementary runner who can hit big runs against defenses who have been worn down, but he needs to be matched with the right scheme in order to unlock his big-play potential.

In Marlon Mack, the Colts have brought aboard an exciting option at running back. Described with terms like blazing, slither, wiggle, slashing, explosive, slippery, and record-breaker, Mack is likely to find himself with a great many fans in Indianapolis.

This article originally appeared on