Everyone seems to think Jonathan Taylor will supplant Marlon Mack, but not so fast, Colts fans.
Though Jonathan Taylor is a freak of nature, averaging over 300 carries per year during his time at Wisconsin, Mack won’t be fading into obscurity just like that.
And he might not even at all! According to the latest buzz at Colts training camp, Mack has been targeted a lot in the passing game. Perhaps this is a sign of things to come? We know Nyheim Hines is the de facto third-down back and is expected to take on the role of being Philip Rivers’ safety blanket as a pass catcher, but what if Mack can prove he can do both?
Mack has largely been a one-dimensional running back, catching just 52 passes on 76 targets in his three NFL seasons while rushing for 2,357 yards on 535 carries. If he can emerge as a dual-threat back, perhaps we start hearing less of “Mack is gone after this year” and begin embracing this thought: A Mack-Taylor combo for years to come will define the Colts’ offense.
Mack’s an explosive runner! Why can’t he flash that burst as a receiver? He probably can! Then all the Colts will need is a franchise quarterback, because the offensive line and backfield will be fully set for years to come.
Indy will have the most cap space in the NFL come 2021, so for fans to assume they’re not “going to waste money” on a running back is a bit shortsighted. There are very few offenses in the league that rely on one bell cow back, and we’ve yet to see Taylor at the pro level. We can’t sit here and assume the kid will be able to absorb an Ezekiel Elliott-like workload.
A two-headed backfield with guys as talented as Mack and Taylor could very well be the future for the Colts. Taylor wasn’t much of a receiving back at all in college, so it’s quite possible the coaching staff will look to groom Mack into an aerial threat given he already possesses the necessary skills on the ground to make the backfield more dynamic.
The Colts are in a good situation right now. Mack is good. Taylor should be good. There’s no need to kick the fourth-year stud to the curb.
Instead, help him develop more skills, keep him in town, and make it all work. Because if you’re going to have an inexperienced QB taking over in 2021, then you’re going to need a really good rushing attack.