Indianapolis Colts 53-Man Roster Prediction: Running Backs
For part three of looking at the potential 53-man roster for the Colts, I will take a look at the running back group. Six running backs and one fullback currently sit on the 90-man roster but after the NFL draft when the Chris Ballard traded up to draft Jonathan Taylor with the 41st overall pick, there will be a lot of questions about how many backs the team keeps heading into the 2020-21 season.
Safe: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Nyhiem Hines
Fighting: Jordan Wilkins, Roosevelt Nix
Cut: Darius Jackson, Bruce Anderson III
The three guys I put in the safe category speak for themselves. The biggest question surrounding Marlon Mack will be what does the team do with him after the season? It’s a contract year for the four-year vet and Jim Irsay quickly shot down a report earlier this spring saying the team was working on an extension to keep Mack with the Colts. Fast-forward to late April, the Colts added more intrigue to the running back situation when they took Taylor from Wisconsin with their second pick. Amassing over 6,000 yards in three years in college, Taylor’s home run ability could put him in the Rookie of the Year consideration, but you have to figure he will be splitting time with Mack in the backfield. Mack and Taylor appear to be a 1-2 punch for the Colts as they will double down on their desire to run the ball more.
Hines’ usage with Philip Rivers will likely go up after seeing the type of effect Austin Ekeler had over the last few seasons with Rivers in Los Angeles. Ekeler earned a four-year, $24 million extension this offseason after being a dynamic pass catching back since entering the league back in 2017. Hines will likely continue to see time both in the backfield and slot in Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni’s offense as well as being the return specialist on special teams unless rookie cornerback Isaiah Rodgers makes the team and takes over returning duties at some point in the season.
Unlike past articles, I added a cut section instead of just putting the players in the fighting section due to the uncertainty of what is going to happen. I think both Jordan Wilkins and Roosevelt Nix make the roster for these reasons among others. I see Wilkins making it as an injury to Mack or Taylor puts the team in a bind and needing a back, Wilkins has experience and would save the team from having to sign a free agent back off the street. With Jonathan Williams gone, Wilkins will likely do what Williams did during his time here and be a healthy scratch each week until an injury pops up. Roosevelt Nix is the Colts first fulltime fullback since Stanley Havili back in 2013-14. With the Colts desire to run the ball, Nix would be a huge asset for the running back room in providing Mack and Taylor more home run play opportunities.
Sorry, Darius Jackson and Bruce Anderson III, hopefully you both find a roster or practice squad somewhere.