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Player Profile: Colts Running Back Marlon Mack

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Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Measurables

Height: 5’11” | Weight: 210lbs | Age: 22 | Experience: 1 year

40-Yard Dash: 4.50 | Benchpress: 15 reps | Broad Jump: 125 inches | Vertical: 35.5 inches

College: South Florida

Professional Transactions:

Signed a 4-year $2,819,648 rookie contract with the Colts

NFL Career Stats:

14 Games | No starts | 93 Rushes | 358 Yards | 3.8 Yards Per Carry Average | 3 Rushing Touchdowns | 21 Receptions | 225 Yards Receiving | 1 Receiving Touchdown | 1 Fumble


Mack’s impact on the field – Film Review

Marlon Mack in his 2017 rookie debut was a puzzle. At times he was the most electrifying player on the field for the Colts. Others he was a letdown. There is plenty of film to make an argument either way about how Mack’s season could go.

Strengths

One of the most impressive points about Mack’s season is that he had 5 plays that went for more than 20 yards, and 11 plays that went for more than 10 yards. His uncommon burst and smooth cuts make him a home run threat every time the ball is in his hands. While a major worry when seeing him enter the league was that he wouldn’t be able to break the habit of bouncing to the outside when the lanes were clogged, it is not hard to see why he favors it. His ability to get up to speed quickly is truly impressive and allowed him to beat guys to the edge when used correctly.

On the above play, Donte Moncrief gets a solid block to seal the edge, but Mack still has to beat the cornerback and does so with ease. His feet are so shifty and he cuts so well that he is even able to make guys miss when he should likely be down.

Here we see #62 Le’Raven Clark get absolutely embarrassed by #90 Daquan Jones. Jones is in the backfield almost before the handoff can be made. This should be a tackle for a loss, and would be many times.

Mack’s jump cut turns what should be a negative play into a big one. He doesn’t just get the first down, he flips the field position entirely. This is the kind of thing he can bring to the offense.

This ability shows with regularity, and if Reich can harness it and develop him so that he is more confident running between the tackles, he can be a serious threat to defenses.

He also has the ability to make plays working out of the short passing game as an outlet. When he got the ball in space, he was dangerous, as we see here. He makes a difficult catch, stays with his blockers, and uses his elusiveness to keep moving.

The result? A 29 yard gain. That will be the kind of production we hope Reich can get more of because he was woefully underutilized in this type of situation last season.

Weaknesses

While Mack is dangerous in the open field, he struggled to bring in a lot of the passes that came his way. This is a great example of exactly that.

Now the full blame can’t go on Mack here. Brissett throws the ball at him like he just said that water sucks and Gatorade is better, but all the same, if the ball hits your hands, it should be a catch. This exact look happens time and again over the course of the 2017 season. I have no doubt that Luck will put much better touch on those screen passes, but Mack still has to bring them in.

The biggest area of weakness for Mack is one that many rookie running backs struggle with. His pass protection. This is an area that he absolutely has to grow in if he wants to see his role increase with the team.

Here we see him get embarrassed because he simply doesn’t recognize his blocking responsibility. He is wrapped up in selling the play action and blows right by #51 Pozlusny, who then goes unblocked to Brissett for a sack.

Expectations

There are some things that will be working in Mack’s favor heading into 2018. For one, he had surgery in the offseason to repair a torn labrum that he played with for most of the year. It isn’t hard to understand why a position that nearly always results in a big hit at the end of a carry is hindered by a shoulder injury. In fact, he deserves some credit for playing through what had to be a painful season, which definitely speaks to his toughness.

Additionally, he now has an offensive minded head coach who has proven he knows how to use running backs. The pressure won’t be all on Mack to carry the load, and it shouldn’t be. Frank Reich will get the most out of him without loading him down too much. You also have the overhaul of the offensive line, which will most definitely play a role in the improvement of the running game.

Most significantly, Mack will benefit from the return of Andrew Luck. Luck is a top-5 talent, and a player that raises the level of play of the people around him. It is not unreasonable then to expect that a year of experience and a leader like Luck will make for a better version of Marlon Mack.


2018 Predictions:

1100 yards from scrimmage | 5 TDs