Colts general manger Chris Ballard revealed Tuesday that Mack played through a torn labrum in his shoulder as a rookie and underwent surgery during the offseason, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio reports. Ballard said Mack should be a full participant at the start of training camp, when he'll likely be the favorite for the lead role in a backfield that includes veterans Robert Turbin, Christine Michael and Josh Ferguson along with rookies Nyheim Hines (fourth round) and Jordan Wilkins (fifth round). The Colts' decision to pass on running backs in the early rounds of the 2018 draft can be taken as a sign that the team isn't too worried about Mack's shoulder. The 2017 third-round pick was inconsistent yet promising while stuck behind Frank Gore last season, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry despite ripping off six gains of 20 or more yards among his 93 totes. New head coach Frank Reich recently mentioned that he would be comfortable using a committee in the backfield.
While Mack would appear to be the clear starter at running back after the Colts failed to select a running back early in the draft, head coach Frank Reich said he's open to utilizing multiple backs, the Indianapolis Star reports. "I'm very comfortable with the running back-by-committee," said Reich. "I'm very comfortable with (competition)." Indianapolis selected two running backs in the draft with Nyhelm Hines taken in the fourth round and Jordan Wilkins taken in the fifth round. Mack should be the clear leader for the starting job and Indy's lack of signing a veteran free agent or spending a high draft pick on a running back is good news for his fantasy value and we may not want to read too much into Reich's statement. Still, Mack will need to prove he can be the starter, which would be helped if he gets the bulk of playing time in training camp.
Mack is trying to gain a little bit of weight to prepare for the possibility of an increased role in his second NFL season, Andrew Walker of the Colts' official website reports. A fourth-round pick, Mack was feast or famine in his backup role as a rookie, averaging only 3.8 yards per carry despite taking six of his 93 totes for 20 yards or more. For context, fellow rookie Aaron Jones was the only player with a higher percentage of carries going for 20-plus yards (min. 50 attempts) and he averaged 5.5 per carry. Mack displayed a similar mixture of potential and inconsistency when the Colts threw the ball, impressively averaging 10.7 yards on 21 receptions but struggling with his pass blocking and catch rate (63.6 percent). He's left atop the depth chart after Frank Gore signed with the Dolphins, though the Colts likely will add competition during the upcoming draft. Mack's pass blocking will be of particular importance, as the Colts don't want Andrew Luck (shoulder) to take the kind of beating Jacoby Brissett was subjected to last year. Their current group of running backs may be the league's worst, with Mack joined by Robert Turbin, Christine Michael, Josh Ferguson, Matt Jones and George Winn.
Mack had four carries for 17 yards and two receptions for 37 yards on two targets in Saturday's loss at Baltimore. The Colts never decreased starter Frank Gore's workload to give Mack an extended look in an effort to evaluate him for 2018. It's possible Mack could be featured more in the team's final game next week against Houston, but we wouldn't count on it.
Mack carried six times for 14 yards and failed to bring in his only target in Thursday's 25-13 loss to the Broncos. Neither Mack nor Frank Gore got much work on the ground in a game that the Colts trailed for the majority of the second half. The rookie hasn't topped 46 rushing yards since Week 3, but much of that lackluster production can be directly correlated to his lack of opportunity. Factoring in Thursday's workload, Mack has only tallied double-digit carries once over the last nine contests. With the Colts playing out the string and Gore wrapping up his age-34 season, the 21-year-old could potentially see a bump in touches over the final two contests of the campaign.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|5||10/05||@New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|6||10/14||@New York Jets||24||18.50|
|16||12/23||New York Giants||21||17.88|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||93||358||3||21||225||1||81|