In his sophomore campaign in 2018, Marlon Mack proved to be a workhorse at the NFL-level. In 12 games, the second-year runner posted over 1000 total yards and 10 touchdowns while running behind Pro Football Focus’ third-ranked offensive line. Along with impressive production and usage, the USF-product topped 5.1 yards-per-carry in seven of twelve games played. After only signing Spencer Ware in free agency and not drafting a running back, the Colts doubled-down on Mack as their featured runner. The No. 16 running back off draft boards in Draft best-ball leagues, Mack’s projected usage in a high-powered offense makes him a superior play to players being drafted in the same tier. Using advanced stats, metrics and analytics, Marlon Mack projects to enter the upper-echelon of running backs in 2019.
Previously, I justified why A.J. Green and T.Y. Hilton are bargains in the third-round after the post-Dalvin Cook tier of running backs. Mack is the exception to this strategy, as his talent coupled with situation separate him from the pack. Coming into the league, Mack presented a workhorse profile with a 22.9-percent (66th-percentile) College Dominator and a college yards-per-carry of 6.0 (69th-percentile). In addition, boasting a 10.9-percent (76th-percentile) College Target-Share, showing that he could play all-three downs in the NFL. As a rookie in 2017, Mack flashed his potential with 1.55 (No. 11) Yards Created per-carry, but never broke out statistically.
With Andrew Luck healthy and the addition of rookie turned-All Pro guard Quenton Nelson, the story was different for Mack in year two. Logging 315 (No. 15) Yards Created in just 12 games, Mack answered pre-season questions about his potential to become an every-down runner. Not only did the 5-11 213-pound back create for himself, the Colts created fantasy and real-life scoring opportunities for him with 39 (No. 10) red-zone touches. Although surrendering receiving opportunities to rookie Nyheim Hines, his production and touchdown upside made him a high-floor play for owners. He also managed 10 (No.14) Breakaway Runs in 2018, showing off his dynamic athleticism which best-compares to Marshawn Lynch. In six of his twelve games he had 15 or more rushing attempts, which helped him finish as a top-8 running back four times in PPR leagues. He continued to produce throughout the regular season into the playoffs, setting the franchise record for rushing yards in a playoff game (148) at Houston. His historic performance was highlighted by average of 6.2 yards-per-carry and a touchdown.
With the addition of two receivers including rookie Parris Campbell and Devin Funchess, the 2019 Colts offense projects to be even more powerful than the 2018 installment, which finished No. 7 in the NFL in total yards. With more trips to the red zone means more scoring opportunities for Mack, who the Colts have shown to trust on that part of the field. A player whose projected usage gives him top-10 upside, Mack is being taken a mere 13 picks after Cook. Mack’s availability in the third-round will be a steal for drafters, providing flexibility in the top-two rounds.
Colts GM Chris Ballard vouched for Mack in April: “We think he can play on all three downs. We think he can carry the load.” Coming into the league with impressive college receiving production, Mack has only logged 328 receiving yards through two years. If the Colts put him on the field on more third downs, he’ll show off the receiving chops that he showed in college. The Colts have invested in Mack as their top dog by not adding any competition, and so should drafters. Draft Marlon Mack and don’t look back.