Before I get into what I really like about NFL Draft prospect Marlon Mack, here’s how he first came to my attention.
While the two featured runs make my eyes very happy, it was the claim that he’s “a top-5 RB in this class” that raised my antennas. So let’s dig in a bit and see if the hype is real.
Mack is one of 112 RBs over the last 16 years to have 3,000 rushing yards, 50 receptions, and 30 touchdowns. When we look at players who did it with fewer than 600 rushing attempts that number falls to just 24. If we look at who did it in the fewest amount of games, we start to see some pretty interesting names.
|Larry Rose III||2014||2016||New Mexico State||32||584||3624||6.2||27||78||635||8.1||3||30|
|Dwone Hicks||2000||2002||Middle Tennessee State||32||561||3432||6.1||50||52||661||12.7||6||56|
|Duke Johnson||2012||2014||Miami (FL)||33||526||3519||6.7||26||69||719||10.4||4||32|
|Jeremy McNichols||2014||2016||Boise State||34||571||3205||5.6||44||103||1089||10.6||11||55|
|Ezekiel Elliott||2013||2015||Ohio State||35||592||3961||6.7||43||58||449||7.7||1||44|
|Marlon Mack||2014||2016||South Florida||36||586||3609||6.2||32||65||498||7.7||1||33|
|Ito Smith||2014||2016||Southern Mississippi||38||572||3123||5.5||29||100||1050||10.5||5||34|
|Robert Turbin||2007||2011||Utah State||38||565||3315||5.9||40||67||845||12.6||11||51|
|Joseph Randle||2010||2012||Oklahoma State||39||564||3085||5.5||40||108||917||8.5||3||43|
|Reggie Bush||2003||2005||Southern California||39||433||3169||7.3||25||95||1301||13.7||13||42|
Looking only at the players who have already been drafted, six out of the 11 names were first round picks. Some may point out the competition difference and that’s a fair point. To Mack’s credit, he’s the only RB in the AAC to ever post these type of numbers.
In fact, he gained a full 1,000 yards more than any other RB in the history of the conference. Even if we opened it up to the former Big East, Mack would be the only RB to do so.
SIZE AND COMPARABLES
At 6 feet and 210 pounds, Mack might end up falling into scat back territory. It’s not totally damning if he tests well, but his size and production profile suggests that’s his likely NFL role. Using Duke Johnson as the closest comparison from the prior list, this is what the Box Score Scout spits out.
Best Case – Marshawn Lynch, Mark Ingram
Solid – Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown
Worst Case – Bishop Sankey, Jordan Todman
While I can’t put my finger on why Sankey and Todman didn’t make it in the NFL, if Mack proves to be the same level of athlete I’ll be diving back in head first. Kevin Cole used regression tree analysis to show us that speed and explosiveness lead to success at the next level. In a weird way, Mack’s “worst case” could still end up as a positive.
We still have a ways to go before our rankings process begins, but Mack has an interesting profile. His production is really strong even though we have to knock him for playing against a weaker level of competition.
His strong stop and go ability has plenty of scouting fans, but he’ll have to perform well at the combine to really buy in at his size. ESPN’s recruiting page on him from 2014 indicates that might be an issue.
Unless he’s added weight and posts these type of numbers, his chances of success would be slim. Again, his college statistics are impressive but I can’t consider him a top-five RB prospect unless he kills it at the combine. He’s definitely a player that has a lot to like, and it won’t take much for him to fly up the board. Until we know more, he’s just a player to keep on your radar.