According to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, the Indianapolis Colts have one of the league’s top 5 running back tandems ahead of the upcoming 2021 NFL season—coming in at the 4th overall spot:
4. Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor · Nyheim Hines · Marlon Mack
Despite Carson Wentz’s arrival as the Colts’ new QB1, the offense will run through a talented collection of running backs playing behind a stable of Clydesdales at the line of scrimmage. Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines and Marlon Mack are complementary jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly in a diverse scheme that mixes power and pizzazz. Taylor is a punishing workhorse with a no-nonsense game that enabled him to quietly amass 1,169 rush yards and 11 touchdowns rumbling between the tackles as a rookie. Hines is a sensational space player with soft hands and polished receiving skills. The fourth-year pro has topped the 60-catch mark twice in three seasons while settling in as the designated third-down back in the rotation. Mack, who missed nearly the entire 2020 campaign with a torn Achilles, is the wild card as a key contributor with the skills to serve in either capacity as a fill-in. With three high-end playmakers in the backfield, the Colts can impose their will on opponents with a balanced attack fueled by their running backs.
The Colts were ranked only behind the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints, and Dallas Cowboys among running back tandems respectively.
The Colts backfield is headlined by second-year breakout star Jonathan Taylor, who led all rookies in rushing yards and was a monster down the season’s late stretch for Indianapolis—as besides Tennessee Titans’ All-Pro Derrick Henry, no back was arguably better.
At a listed 5’10”, 226 pounds featuring a 4.41 forty time, Taylor showcases a tantalizing package of power and speed—with the matching vision, discipline, and moves to wreak havoc both in and outside the tackles.
He’s complemented by electric receiving back Nyheim Hines as part of a modern day ‘thunder and lightning’ approach between the pair of contrasting standouts.
While only a listed 5’9”, 196 pounds, Hines runs hard and can push the pile a bit, but his ‘bread-and-butter’ is clearly out in space, where he’s elusive, explosive, and fast—being a big play threat each and every time he touches the football.
The Colts’ running back room also has reliable change-of-pace running back Jordan Wilkins, who’s been a productive backup entering his 4th NFL season—when called upon.
Meanwhile, former 1,000 yard rusher, Marlon Mack, is the wild card of the unit, as it’s unclear if he’ll be fully recovered from a torn Achilles suffered in last season’s opener. If healthy though, Mack could be another featured rusher within the Colts’ loaded stable—providing added offensive versatility and proven depth.
For what it’s worth, Deon Jackson was an interesting undrafted rookie signing out of Duke by the Colts, and the productive Blue Devils’ 6’0”, 218 pound back should push for an active roster spot in training camp/preseason. If nothing else, he makes for an intriguing practice squad stash (with all of Hines, Mack, and Wilkins on expiring contracts after 2021 respectively).
Right now, it’s pretty clear that the Colts have one of the league’s top backfields featuring one of the game’s top young backs, Taylor, and with loaded depth rushing (and even catching in Hines’s case) directly behind him.