According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Kansas City Chiefs have “looked into” Indianapolis Colts running back, Marlon Mack, as a potential trade target.
This news shouldn’t come as a surprise to Chiefs fans. Running Back Clyde Edwards-Helaire suffered a sprained MCL during Sunday night’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Edwards-Helaire is expected to miss a few weeks, according to reports.
Mack is an interesting target. He tore his Achilles in the first game of the season last year and missed the rest of 2020. Rookie Jonathan Taylor stepped in for Mack and had a breakout season. Mack was a free agent last offseason and despite the presence of Taylor as the clear starter, he re-signed with the Colts. After being inactive for a game against the Tennesse Titans earlier this season, Mack requested a trade. The Colts seem to be content with a combo of Taylor and Nyheim Hines, not leaving much work for Taylor.
Mack was a fourth-round pick by the Colts in the 2017 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at UCF, where he rushed for 3,609 yards over three seasons. Mack had two solid back-to-back seasons for the Colts in 2018, rushing for 908 yards and nine touchdowns, and in 2019, rushing for 1,091 years and eight touchdowns.
This season, since the Colts have been rumored to be exploring a trade for Mack, he has started getting a few touches, likely so that teams could get a look at him in regular-season action. Achilles injuries are very serious, especially for running backs. In his small sample size this year, Mack has rushed 20 times for 85 yards over three games. He had his best game of the season last night against the Baltimore Ravens, getting five touches for 47 yards, including a 22-yard gain.
Chances are, Edwards-Helaire will land on IR at some point today. That will clear up more roster space if the Chiefs do want to make a move for Mack or another player.
The obvious question here is what this means for Darrel Williams, who has been CEH’s backup this season. Williams has 26 carries for 99 yards and two touchdowns this season. Behind him, is Jerick McKinnon, who only has one carry for two yards and three receptions for 27 yards.
Frankly, I don’t think the Chiefs need to trade for Mack. I think Williams has shown over the years that he is more than capable of stepping in. McKinnon is a veteran and can rotate in as well. This might also be a chance for the Chiefs to get some run out of Derrek Gore, who is currently on the Practice Squad. Gore flashed in the preseason so this would be an opportunity for him to show what he can do in regular-season action.
Here is what Arrowhead Addict’s Matt Conner wrote about Gore earlier this year:
"Coming out of high school, Gore went the prep school route in hopes of bolstering his offers and turning the right heads, but he managed only 257 rushing yards at Milford Prep and his next step was a stop at Coffeyville (Ks.) for a JuCo season. He failed to play due to injury and then decided to try to walk on at the biggest stage possible: with Nick Saban and Alabama.To Gore’s credit, the move worked and he was able to enjoy a couple seasons in Tuscaloosa where, in limited action, he showed off special teams prowess that included a blocked punt against Florida punter Johnny Townsend. Las Vegas Raiders running back would catch the punt and take it to the house for a touchdown.Gore finally got his chance to shine when he transferred once again to the University of Louisiana-Monroe. He had a total of 295 carries for 1,247 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns across two seasons with the Warhawks, good for a 4.2 yards/carry average.From there, Gore earned a chance to play as a rookie free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers and impressed enough during the preseason that he stuck around for a couple of years on the team’s practice squad and offseason roster. However he’s yet to make his NFL debut, and Gore is going to turn 27-years-old during the upcoming season."
Though Mack has been a proven starter in the NFL before, I am just not convinced he is an upgrade over the backs the Chiefs already have on the roster, especially considering the fact that he is coming off of a serious injury. Further, if we are to believe recent reports, CEH will be back this season. Why bother potentially wasting draft picks to get him to Kansas City?
The Chiefs’ offense is going to be fine. While there is no harm in him making the call if the Chiefs are going to make a trade, it probably should be for help on defense.
UPDATE: The Chiefs have indeed placed CEI on IR, elevated Gore and made a few other roster moves as well.