Ever since their running back depth chart was depleted by season-ending injuries, the Baltimore Ravens have been linked to almost every veteran free agent the position. Also, those on the trading block.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Indianapolis Colts are about to make a former 1,000-yard rusher available via trade.
One reason Colts’ RB Marlon Mack didn't play Sunday is because, per league sources, the team is considering trading him. Mack's on a one-year deal, he's healthy and still can be productive.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 28, 2021
Originally selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of South Florida, Mack was on his way to blossoming into one of the better running backs in the league before his 2020 season was cut short by a torn Achilles injury.
He recorded 56 yards from scrimmage on seven touches in Week 1 last year. After he went down, 2020 second-round pick Jonathan Taylor went on to have a highly productive rookie season, finishing third in the NFL in rushing with a team-leading 1,169 yards.
Mack has only been active for one game this season and it came in Week 2, where he carried the ball five times for 16 yards in a narrow loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Mack and Colts have agreed to mutually part ways.
The #Colts and RB Marlon Mack have agreed to mutually seek a trade, per sources. Mack is fully healthy after last year’s Achilles tear. But Jonathan Taylor as the bell cow and Nyheim Hines recently extended, Mack is hoping for opportunities elsewhere.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 28, 2021
In the two years prior to his injury, Mack recorded 1,999 yards on the ground and 2,184 yards from scrimmage with 18 combined touchdowns. He ran for a career-high 1,091 rushing yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry in 2019.
When healthy, Mack is a gifted runner that possess the following traits that would make him a fit in the Ravens offense:
- The contact balance to bounce or spin off defenders and brush off big hits —
- The speed to get to the edge and turn the corner —
- The power to bully or stiff arm his way for extra yards to pick up first downs or get into the end zone —
- The swift footwork to make defenders miss in open space —
- The vision and patience to find and hit cutback lanes —
- The burst to explode into the second and third level of the defense, as well as the second gear to breakaway in the open-field —
Given the depreciation in value of the position he plays, Mack likely won’t command anything higher than a conditional Day 3 draft pick. Other teams that might be vying to acquire his services include the San Francisco 49ers, who have had almost as much bad luck as the Ravens at the position to start the season, and the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers will be without All-Pro offensive weapon Christian McCaffrey for weeks while he recovers from a hamstring injury.
As far as how Mack compares to what the Ravens currently have on the roster, he could be an upgrade over the aging veteran trio of Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell. This is assuming he’s fully recovered from his Achilles injury. The only running back that I don’t believe he could be better than at the moment is second-year pro Ty’Son Williams, who has been the Ravens’ most effective runner not named Lamar Jackson through the first three games of the season.
The Ravens just brought back undrafted rookie Nate McCarry to the practice squad, so their room is pretty full at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean a trade for make doesn’t make sense or won’t happen given the team’s injury luck so far this year, especially at the position. Mack is also playing on a one-year deal, so there is no contractual tether beyond 2021 meaning it’d essentially be a rental for three-fourths of the season.
Only time will tell, but one thing you can bank on is that General Manager Eric DeCosta won’t hesitate to pull the trigger near the trade deadline to address weaknesses on the roster. He’s done it in each of his first two years at the helm of the front office with the acquisitions of Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters and Pro Bowl pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue. He did this without even giving up so much as a second-round pick.
Should the Ravens trade for Mack or stand pat?
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