The Indianapolis Colts had one of the deepest collections of running back talent in the league this season. Jonathan Taylor is a budding star, Nyheim Hines has proven his value as a pass-catcher, Marlon Mack can still churn out yards despite his injury, and Jordan Wilkins is a fine a depth piece as you’ll find in the AFC.
While he has missed large chunks of time with a non-football illness, a non-insignificant chunk of the Colts fanbase wanted to see the Ole Miss product back on the field as soon as possible. With 4.9 yards per carry, Wilkins has proven his quality in the NFL.
With trade rumors surrounding Mack, the logical choice to move up on the depth and potential spell Taylor for a brief chunk of time given Hines’ role would be Wilkins. Chris Ballard confirmed that one of either Wilkins or Mack has played his last game in Indianapolis, but it’s not who you’re thinking of.
Wilkins, along with defensive tackle Khalil Davis, was waived on Saturday in a pretty stunning move. The Colts won’t have to look far for his replacement, as they promoted former undrafted free agent and Duke running back Deon Jackson to take his spot before a Week 8 matchup against the Tennessee Titans.
The Colts should not have released Jordan Wilkins.
Is this a sign that Mack is going to remain on the roster? Considering that both the player in question and the organization themselves have been very open about their desires to seek a trade, keeping him around makes it sound like Ballard is holding out and trying to swindle an opposing team rather than getting at least something of value for him.
Despite constantly competing for carries, Wilkins has topped 300 yards in all three of his NFL seasons prior to 2021 and 5.6 yards per carry in his first two years. That is not production that should just be discarded, especially for an undrafted player with as much NFL experience as you and me.
The Colts may have done this move to get rookie Dayo Odeyingbo in the rotation, but there were better ways to dot his that did not include giving up a player like Wilkins, who could be claimed by any interested team.
Wilkins will likely land somewhere else before the season ends, as his three consecutive seasons of solid production should get him a chance outside of Indianapolis. This may not have a huge impact on wins and losses, but losing Wilkins is still a bit puzzling.