One of the benefits (for the teams, anyway) of having a draft class as deep as the 2017 running back class is that potential gems have a way of slipping through the cracks.
One of those could be South Florida’s Marlon Mack.
While the New York Giants certainly seem to like 2016 draftee Paul Perkins, by parting ways with veteran running back Rashad Jennings, they likely have opened a vacancy that could be filled by a rookie running back. Mack is versatile, athletic, and highly productive in college. Mack also had a very good workout at the NFL Scouting Combine, which saw him stand out in the on-field drills.
Did he do enough to pique the Giants’ interest?
- Mack possesses a good blend if size, speed, power, and agility.
- Frequently split out as a receiver in South Florida’s spread offense.
- Willing blocker in both pass protection and for other ballcarriers.
- Runs behind his pads and drives his legs to pick up yards after contact.
- Smooth runner who uses subtle cuts, quick feet, and good balance through contact to wind his way through traffic.
- Highly productive in college. 3,609 rushing yards and 32 rushing touchdowns in three years, including 15 his final year at South Florida.
- Experience in a spread offense could slow his growth in a Pro offense.
- Smallish (9-inch) hands might make receiving and ball security an issue at the next level -- had 12 fumbles in three years at South Florida.
- Has good, but not “home run” speed. Can break a big gain, but lacks that extra gear to really run away from defenders.
- Has good size and will lower his pads, but isn’t a really punishing runner.
- A willing blocker but needs to be both more aggressive and improve his technique.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
Mack might not be the sledgehammer running back the Giants’ currently lack, but he has solid size to be an “every down” back, while also has the versatility to be a contributor on any down and distance. He also features very Paul Perkins-like movement skills. That ability to sink and swivel his hips as he winds his way through the defense is similar to Perkins’ and the similarities between the two would help keep the offense wide open and not clue the defense based on which running back is in the game.
The Giants have also historically favored running backs with good speed scores. The speed score is basically a measurement of a player’s speed in the context of their size. Running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at 213 pounds, Mack has the fifth-best speed score in the entire draft. That blend of size, speed, movement skills, and versatility makes Mack an attractive mid-round prospect for the Giants.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - Not in Top 100
CBS Sports - 116th overall
Draft Countdown - 110th overall
Draft Tek - 126th overall
Marlon Mack’s tape is almost equal parts fun and frustrating to watch.
To be fair to Mack, more than a bit of the frustration came from the team around him than the player himself. South Florida’s quarterback was erratic and their offensive line let run defenders bleed through too often. Behind a stouter offensive line and with a more dependable passing attack, Mack could be viewed as a much better prospect right now.