According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the Indianapolis Colts have the league’s 15th best ranked backfield duo:
15. Indianapolis Colts
RB1: Marlon Mack (84)
RB2: Jonathan Taylor (78)
Miller based his rankings on the following criteria:
A composite grade—a combination of my own evaluating, Pro Football Focus grades, the analytics of Football Outsiders, and opinions from pro and college scouts around the NFL—is used to rank each player.
For rookies, their grade is based on predraft scouting evaluations plus their fit with their new team. That gives some players, such as Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a boost over where he might have been ranked heading into the 2020 class.
Now, no one should lose sleep over this ranking—which projects the Colts to essentially have around a league average backfield duo with last year’s 1,000 yard rusher Marlon Mack and highly touted second round pick Jonathan Taylor. Namely, because it means very little in the grand scheme of things.
That being said, just glossing over the rankings, it seems that Miller placed a heavy emphasis on each team’s lead back—and not nearly as much weight on the running back actually backing each workhorse up.
The Colts “1-2” punch collectively of Mack and Taylor as a whole could arguably be better than the Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, and New England Patriots—all of whom have potentially worse backups than either Mack or Taylor.
As such, I would take the Colts’ new bellcow duo of Mack and Taylor against almost any other team’s—especially running behind Indianapolis’ dominant offensive line.
Mack isn’t the league’s best back, but he’s a proven featured back and 1,000 yard rusher with the Colts—while Taylor has a tantalizing combination of speed and power for the next level. Taylor was also highly productive at Wisconsin—rushing for over 2,000 yards in consecutive seasons for the Badgers.
Both rushers are natural fits in the Colts’ zone-blocking scheme.
The Colts’ new ‘dynamic duo’ in their backfield (with some scatback Nyheim Hines sprinkled in) should definitely improve this overall ranking as the season progresses—proving it by their actual production on the field.