The Competition for the Colts’ Fourth Running Back Spot Is Wide Open

EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 29: Josh Ferguson
EVANSTON, IL - NOVEMBER 29: Josh Ferguson /

When the Colts selected Marlon Mack in the 4th round of the draft it became obvious that Frank Gore, Robert Turbin, and Mack would be the top three running backs on the depth chart. And once the signing of Christine Michael was announced, the running back depth chart seemed set for the upcoming season.

However, shortly after signing with the team, Michael was forced to the injured reserve with a fluke injury he sustained during mini camp. This injury opened the door for one of the other running backs on the roster to possibly make it on to the 53-man roster.

With training camp about three weeks away, the Colts’ running back competition will be a fun one to follow. As mentioned the top three are set, but Troymaine Pope, Dalton Crossan, and Josh Ferguson will all be fighting for the fourth spot on the depth chart.

It is hard to imagine a world where the Colts would have five running backs on their roster, but they will be expected to keep four. Any of these three players are capable of making the roster and it does not appear that there is a clear favorite heading into camp, but much will change once training camp begins on July 29.


Josh Ferguson, who signed with the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2016, will look to make the roster for the second straight year. Many people were excited about the signing of Ferguson, whom many scouts gave a 4th round draft grade.

However, the Illinois product did not live up to the hype producing a disappointing rookie campaign, and he will have to show improvement in order to make the team again this year.

Dalton Crossan, an undrafted rookie from New Hampshire, shows great promise. His college tape is strong, but it should be noted that he was facing FCS competition. Nonetheless, he had many great plays and dominated most of his opponents.

He averaged 5.5 yards per carry this past season, and had 14 total touchdowns. If Crossan has a successful preseason, don’t be surprised to see him make the final roster.

Troymaine Pope, the third and final running back competing for the spot, signed with the Colts soon after Christine Michael’s injury. Pope had a great preseason with the Seahawks in 2016, rushing 24 times for 162 yards and two touchdowns over four games, and his impressive numbers earned him a spot on the Jets’ roster for the beginning of the season.

Playing for the Jets and the Seahawks in 2016, he had 12 rushes for only 44 yards in the regular season. If he can have a similar preseason this year to the one he had last year, there’s a good chance he will win the competition for the fourth running back spot.

Each of the three guys mentioned have a good shot at making the roster, but the decision will come down to training camp performance and how well they play in the preseason. One attribute that can push one of them ahead of the others is a contribution on special teams.

With Quan Bray returning from injury, none of the three appear to have much of a chance of becoming the team’s kick returner, but if one can prove an ability to make tackles on special teams, the Colts will have a spot for them.

The fourth running back will not get many touches, but they can prove their value in special teams contributions. Even though this competition will not be for the starting spot, it will be a fun one to keep an eye on as three determined players will be fighting for their jobs.