Marlon Mack is in amazing situation with the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck has been up-and-down, but Mack could be the final piece to unlocking his full potential and turning him into a MVP contender; a la Tevin Coleman and Matt Ryan. Despite the presence of the immortal Frank Gore, or maybe because of him, Mack could be a top three rookie running back in 2017, and a steal in rookie drafts.
Mack, a 4th round rookie, has measurables that compare favorably to one Todd Gurley. And while Gurley’s sophomore season has drawn questions, no one can deny the impact he had over his first 13 games. During this time, Gurley broke off 16 runs of 15+ yards. Likewise, Tevin Coleman had seven such carries of a mere 118 carries in 2016. Where Coleman separates from Gurley, and I believe Mack can do the same, is in the passing game.
Coleman averaged an absurd 13.58 YPC on 40 targets, leading to the seventh-most receiving yards among running backs, despite ranking 31st in targets at the position. This came on the heels of Matt Ryan averaging an insanely efficient average yards per attempt of 12.0 to Coleman. In most scenarios this type of efficiency is unsustainable, but as the counter weapon to Devonta Freeman, Coleman saw limited defensive attention that allowed him to roam free from the backfield and slot area.
On the Colts, Frank Gore and Marlon Mack can be a duo similar to Atlanta. Gore is the NFL’s Ironman, but with 3,379 career touches at 34 years old, the end is coming. In Indianapolis Gore will, and probably should, dominate the Colts’ carries for 2017, but he’s a declining pass weapon. Marlon Mack can split out wide, or run routes out off the backfield to terrorize opposing defenses. A combination of Gore in the backfield, with Mack in the slot is a pick your poison attack.
Mack has the ability, but it remains to be seen how he fits with Andrew Luck. Luck has never supported a running back with more than 300 receiving yards (Ahmad Bradshaw, 2014), but he has also never had an established receiving back such as Mack. The Colts regularly throw the ball 600 times a season and Marlon Mack should thrive alongside TY Hilton. Dwayne Allen, now a Patriot, left 35 receptions, 406 yards, and six touchdowns for the taking upon being traded. At South Florida, Mack was second on the Bulls with 28 receptions. The skills and opportunity are there, so expect Mack to be a lethal receiving weapon for Andrew Luck.
At 21 years old, Mack is a fast and explosive player. His 4.50 40, ranks in the 75th percentile, while his explosiveness is in the 71st percentile. In 2017, Mack is the complete opposite of Frank Gore, but that might not be a bad thing. The two of them should feed off of each other and increases their efficiency if their volume dips. Gore rightfully opens 2017 as the starter, but don’t be surprised if Mack makes a Jordan Howard-type impact over the back half of the 2017 season. Grab Mack at the end of the second or early 3rd round and don’t look back.