Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack flew under the radar for much of this past season, finally earning some recognition after gashing the Houston Texans for 148 yards and a touchdown in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
But the fact of the matter is that Mack was really good all year long, rushing for 908 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 4.7 yards per carry over 12 games (he had a nagging hamstring injury that caused him to miss some time).
Going into 2019, the Colts are a trendy pick to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, and while it has something to do with their improving defense (Justin Houston was a huge pickup), their explosive offense is the biggest reason why.
Mack is a significant part of that offense and will have to play a huge role for Indianapolis to achieve its goal this year.
So, here are three numbers for the 23-year-old to target in 2019.
3. 16 Games
This seems to be a running theme for a lot of up and coming running backs in the league today, but Mack is yet to prove he can play a full 16-game campaign.
He entered the league in 2017 and appeared in 14 contests during his rookie year, missing a couple of games with a torn labrum in his shoulder, an injury which would ultimately require offseason surgery.
Mack then had a hamstring issue early on in 2018 that caused him to miss three games, and a concussion kept him out of a contest late in the season.
It has only been two years, but Mack has already had a whole lot of trouble staying healthy, so hopefully, he fights off the injury bug in 2019 and is able to stay on the field all season.
2. 40 Receptions
The biggest hole in Mack’s game at the moment is his inability to affect the game as a receiver.
Mack logged just 17 catches for 103 yards and a touchdown this past year, and in 2017, he caught 21 passes for 225 yards and a score.
If Mack truly wants to become one of the top running backs in football for the Colts, he will need to improve as a receiver out of the backfield. That’s not to say he needs to be up there with the Christian McCaffrey’s and Saquon Barkley’s of the world, but he at least needs to be some sort of threat in the passing attack, because right now, he isn’t.
Mack didn’t do a whole lot of receiving in college, either, totaling 65 receptions over three years at South Florida, so I realize this is something he isn’t used to, but he needs to become better in this particular area moving forward.
And honestly, 40 catches doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
1. 1,000 Yards
Had it not been for injuries, Mack certainly would have rushed for 1,000 yards and then some in 2018, as he averaged 75.7 yards per game, which comes out to about 1,211 yards over the course of a full 16-game campaign.
Mack was also efficient with his touches this past year, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
So, as long as Mack remains healthy and gets his touches, he should easily be able to rush for 1,000 yards, barring some type of huge setback. Yes, the Colts throw the ball a lot, but Mack is also a key cog in the offense, as evidenced by the fact that he carried the ball 195 times in just 12 games in 2018.
If Mack produces like he did this past season but is able to play the full year, he should be a Pro Bowl candidate.