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2017 NFL Draft Prospect: Marlon Mack

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. 

Player From To School G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD TD
Todd Gurley 2012 2014 Georgia 30 510 3285 6.4 36 65 615 9.5 6 43
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
Marshawn Lynch 2004 2006 California 35 490 3230 6.6 29 68 600 8.8 6 35
Marlon Mack 2014 2016 South Florida 36 586 3609 6.2 32 65 498 7.7 1 33
Terry Caulley 2002 2006 Connecticut 36 570 3187 5.6 31 85 579 6.8 3 34
Ito Smith 2014 2016 Southern Mississippi 38 572 3123 5.5 29 100 1050 10.5 5 34
Trent Richardson 2009 2011 Alabama 38 540 3130 5.8 35 68 730 10.7 7 43
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
Mark Ingram 2008 2010 Alabama 39 572 3261 5.7 42 60 670 11.2 4 46
Reggie Bush 2003 2005 Southern California 39 433 3169 7.3 25 95 1301 13.7 13 42
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/14/2017.

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.


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.

Nfl Draft Marlon Mack

The BSS helps to illustrate his range of outcomes.

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.

Testing Results: 

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.


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