As he enters the final year on his rookie contract, Marlon Mack will feel a high sense of urgency to open the eyes of the NFL. Not that Mack has been a disappointment by any stretch of the imagination, but he certainly has not yet reached his ceiling. This could be the start of his rise to fame, or the end of his time with the Indianapolis Colts.
Marlon Mack Facing an Important 2020 NFL Season
2020 Draft Impact
For the past several years, dating back to the 2017 NFL Draft, Marlon Mack has been the staple of the Indianapolis ground attack. Much like many things that are going right with the Colts recently, this is credited to Chris Ballard. However, the fourth-round pick’s security seems to be gradually fading away, similar to his hopes for a potential contract extension with the Colts.
In the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, the Colts made a surprising splash by selecting Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor with the 41st pick. Taylor has an elite mix of strength, deceptive speed, and durability. Wisconsin had a potent running game behind their talented offensive line, and Taylor will slide right into a similar culture in Indy. Although Taylor and Mack are both talented running backs with high ceilings, Taylor has already established himself, at least in college, as a proven bell-cow back, while Mack has not.
Mack, unfortunately for the Colts, has been injury-riddled his whole career. He has missed eight games in three years and and has often had to play through injuries. In three collegiate seasons, Taylor eclipsed 1,900 yards with no injuries to speak of, while handling an abundance of carries in nearly every game. It is hard to believe that his lack of an injury history didn’t play a pivotal role in the Colts selection of Taylor.
Rotating Running Backs
Unfortunately for Mack running back isn’t exactly a position that organizations are highly valuing at the moment. Running backs getting large contract extensions following their rookie contract is now a fairly rare occurrence, unlike many other positions. In Mack’s case, his resume probably would not bolster him to the likes of Ezekiel Elliot or Todd Gurley.
However, Mack does have a glimmer of hope, and that can be found with head coach Frank Reich. Reich was the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles during their historic Super Bowl run. With a backfield consisting of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, Darren Sproles, and a few more talented running backs, Reich showed that a backfield by committee can dominate the NFL. The Colts now have a plethora of talent at the position with Taylor, Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins. It may be that Reich is seeking to work the same magic in Indy as he did while he was in Philadelphia. Also, a decrease in snaps for Mack could put him in a prime position to have his healthiest season to date, which would erase a huge negative on Mack’s career thus far.
Will Frank Reich’s backfield expertise be the beginning of potential contract talks between the Colts and Mack, or will this season be Mack’s last in Indy? Mack will want to show what he is capable of and Colts fans would love to see him rise to the occasion.
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