The Colts are expected to use a running back by committee system next year in Frank Reich’s new offense.
Reich’s former team, the Philadelphia Eagles, won a Super Bowl using this sort of philosophy. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, LeGarrette Blount, and Wendell Smallwood all brought different skill sets to the backfield and Reich was able to utilize each of them in certain offensive situations.
The Colts are hoping to build a similar group of backs with a diverse set of skills in Indianapolis.
While the backfield touches will be spread out next season, Marlon Mack will probably head into 2018 at the top of the depth chart.
Mack’s yard per carry numbers weren’t great last season, but Chris Ballard has invested a lot of resources into the offensive line to improve the Colts’ running game. Mack showed flashes as a receiver during his rookie year, and he’ll be capable of playing on all three downs for Frank Reich.
Nyheim Hines has the potential to be Indianapolis’ most versatile back.
Hines played wide receiver during a portion of his college career, and still played out wide often after his transition to running back. Hines proved he can run in between the tackles at NC State, and he has some kick and punt return skills to go along with his great hands and route running.
Fellow rookie Jordan Wilkins was more of a traditional running back in college, but he emerged as a strong receiver out of the backfield during his senior year. Wilkins will certainly play a role in the running and passing game next season.
While Robert Turbin’s roster spot may be in jeopardy after the announcement of his four game suspension, but he could excel as the Colts’ short-yardage back next season. Turbin’s role would be similar to LeGarratte Blount’s in Philadelphia last year as the ground-and-pound back that ices games in the fourth quarter.
Rest of the Depth Chart
Josh Ferguson and Christine Michael are also intriguing running backs who can provide some solid depth if they make the regular season roster.
Frank Reich loves to go four or five deep at the running back position, and Chris Ballard has gone out of his way to make sure his new head coach has all the offensive weaponry he needs.
Now it’s time to prove that this group of running backs can live up to their potential next season.