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NFL Draft

Should Patriots Trade For Marlon Mack?

  • The Draft Network
  • October 19, 2021
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The New England Patriots have struggled to replace the injured James White in their offense. Well known for his capabilities as one of the premier third-down backs in the league, White’s absence has left a gaping hole in New England’s offense. Bill Belichick has largely turned to veteran ball-carrier Brandon Bolden in hopes of filling White's role, but Bolden has failed to take advantage of his opportunities. Bolden was especially poor in New England's most recent pair of contests, recording just five receptions for an unbelievably underwhelming nine yards, or 1.8 yards per catch.

The dropoff in production from New England's pass-catching backs has led some in New England to ponder the availability of Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack via trade. Reports recently emerged that Mack could be available just weeks ago. With the trade deadline fast approaching, the time for Mack and the Colts to divorce is sooner rather than later. The former 1,000-yard rusher continues to serve as an unnecessary surplus in an Indianapolis backfield which is powered forward by the tandem of Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines.

At first glance, identifying why the Patriots could potentially be in the market for a third-down running back is a straightforward process. Rookie signal-caller Mac Jones has showcased flashes of progress, but the former Alabama standout undoubtedly misses the security blanket White is able to provide in all facets of the passing game.

But the honest truth is that Mack isn't the answer to their problems. While New England should be hungry to acquire a third-down back in the mold of say free agent Duke Johnson, Mack just doesn't offer that type of proficiency coming out of the backfield. His career-high in receptions was a mere 21 and even that occurred during his 2017 rookie campaign. Since then, Mack has never surpassed the 17-reception mark and has secured a combined 19 receptions across his last 23 games. The former South Florida standout possesses a skill set that is more comparable to that of Patriots starting running back Damien Harris, who recorded his best game of the season in New England's Week 6 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Harris rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries, and the Patriots would be wise to bet on the continued development of their 24-year-old back.

While the Patriots continue to experiment with their running back room in hopes of one emerging as a capable replacement for White, Mack is not a candidate that makes much sense.

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