The NFL is filled with quality running backs. However, it is extremely rare to see four starting-caliber running backs on the same roster at the same time. The Indianapolis Colts drafted Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin in the second round of the 2020 draft. In doing so they added the most polished runner of the draft into a room already filled with Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins. With the addition of Jonathan Taylor, the Colts have created the best running back room in football.
Jonathan Taylor joins an NFL running back full of high-quality veteran players. However, Taylor is no slump. Over Taylor’s three year NCAA career at Wisconsin he rushed for 6,174 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry, and scoring 55 total touchdowns. In 2018 and 2019 Taylor was a consensus All American. Furthermore, he led all of NCAA in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns over that two-year frame. Taylor was also awarded the Doak Walker award for most outstanding running back for the ’18 and ’19 seasons.
Jonathan Taylor was a stand out in college and was considered by many to be the best pure rusher in the 2020 draft class. Marlon Mack will be entering his contract year this upcoming season. With the acquisition of Taylor, the Colts can split playing time between the two until 2021. That would allow Taylor to learn from one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL until he leaves in free agency.
Marlon Mack was drafted by the Colts in the 4th round of the 2017 draft. Frank Gore was still with the Colts at the time and remained their starting running back throughout the 2017 season. During that season we saw flashes of Mack’s ability. In 2018, Mack was expected to take the reigns at RB and become the starter with Frank Gore’s departure. However, injuries kept Mack to only 10 games started and 12 games in total. Regardless of that Mack was still able to rush for 908 yards, and nine touchdowns.
He once again entered 2019 as the starter and exploded. Mack would finish 2019 #10 in rushing yards with 1,091 and getting most of those with a stacked box due to horrific QB play. He was also 3rd in breakaway runs, 10th in yards created, 11th in juke rate, 12th in breakaway rate, and 15th in evaded tackles according to Player Profiler. Mack did all of that production in just 14 games. The combination of Marlon Mack and Jonathan Taylor will be a two-headed monster that will be near impossible to stop.
The most criminally underrated member of this room may be Nyheim Hines. Hines was drafted in the 4th round of the 2018 draft our of NC State. Since his acquisition, he has played in all 32 games. In 2018, Hines was a feature part of the Colts offense as a third-down/scatback type of player. He came out of NC State with a 4.38 40 yard dash time, a 99th percentile score. Hines would immediately make an impact ranking 7th in targets and 8th in receptions while he struggled with efficiency. In 2019, Hines saw his targets drop 16th but his drop rate was 9th best and his yards per touch was 13th. Furthermore, Hines is an absolute game wrecker as a special teams returner (see video above). Adding it all together with and Hines is a multi-tool, jack of all trades running back with top tier speed.
Jordan Wilkins will be the 4th running back in this room filled to the brim with talent. Wilkins is no exception to the rule. The 26-year-old Wilkins was drafted by the Colts in the 5th round of the 2018 draft out of Ole Miss. Wilkins arrived in 2018 and got 60 carries for 336 rushing yards behind both Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. What you don’t see is that Wilkins was 3rd in the NFL with 5.1 true yards per carry which focuses on consistency. Furthermore, he was ranked 2nd in run blocking efficiency.
In 2019, Wilkins saw 51 carries for 307 rushing yards. Once again the efficiency came into play as Wilkins was 5th in the NFL in yards created per touch. The efficiency of Jordan Wilkins has many wondering if he will find a new home as a starting running back once his contract is up with the Colts.
The Colts with savvy drafting have created a four-headed monster in the backfield for the 2020 season. A backfield compiled of running backs with starting-caliber talent. There should be no doubt that the Indianapolis Colts have the best running back room in the NFL.
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