Indianapolis Colts running back Jordan Wilkins continues to make the most out of his limited carries in a crowded backfield.
In fact, one could argue that through the first four weeks of the NFL’s regular season, Wilkins—not highly regarded rookie second round pick Jonathan Taylor, has consistently been the Colts best rusher on a per carry basis:
Jordan Wilkins: forcing a missed tackle once every 2.5 rushing attempts— PFF IND Colts (@PFF_Colts) October 8, 2020
BEST among 41 RBs w/ 25+ attempts pic.twitter.com/k49QKbUupp
That being said, there’s now chatter among Colts fans that Wilkins, not Taylor, should be Indy’s more featured back in their backfield.
And with all due respect to Wilkins, who’s rushed for 94 rushing yards on 27 carries (3.5 ypc. avg.) and played really well when called upon, I’m not exactly buying it.
It’s not because Wilkins isn’t productive or an impressive back for the Colts, but because the former 2018 5th round pick out of Ole Miss already excels in the relief role that he’s currently in—spelling Taylor (and sometimes Nyheim Hines).
When defenses have had enough of the big bodied 5’10”, 226 pound Taylor beating them up between the tackles in the first half, they then get a healthy dose of Wilkins (6’1”, 216 pounds) in the second half—who shows great patience while still running like he’s been shot out of a cannon.
His fresh legs and contrasting rushing style to Taylor make him a nightmare for opposing run defenses to adjust to largely after halftime—when they’re already banged and bruised up—and sucking wind.
To use a baseball analogy, it’s like having an elite reliever—whose stuff plays up in more limited action and excels in relief of his teammates, becoming a starting pitcher with a heavier workload—where it more levels out to average.
It’s not that Wilkins couldn’t be a lead or featured back here or elsewhere, it’s just that he’s really good in the role that he’s already in and his ‘stuff’ is faster, harder, and sharper—coming out of the Colts’ ‘bullpen’—and firing hot on all cylinders where he knows on each limited rushing rep that he can truly ‘max out’.
Wilkins has earned more carries and should be considered a serious piece in any platoon, but that talk should stop short of any pleas for him to become the Colts next bellcow.