It's rare for one of Florida's top recruits to shun bigger programs like the University of Miami or Florida State when the interest is there, but that's exactly when Sarasota native Marlon Mack opted to commit to the University of South Florida. He was one of their biggest recruiting acquisitions in recent memory and he certainly didn't disappoint when he arrived in Tampa. What did he do? He destroyed about every record imaginable and made them his own.
Mack paved his way into the school's all-time record books amassing 3,609 yards rushing and 498 yards receiving (4,107 all-purpose) and 33 touchdowns in just three years with the Bulls. His 20 career 100 yard games is also a school's best and his exceptional play earned him three first-team All-AAC selections, 2014 AAC Rookie of the Year honors and candidacy for the highly-coveted Maxwell and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards.
You know what would be nice? If the Denver Broncos were able to get him, because he's unlike anyone we currently have at the position.
Undoubtedly, the 2017 NFL Draft is loaded at running back. It's a group of prospects of all different flavors, but when I pop on the film of Mack, there is just something about him that gets me going. I think it's the simple fact that at a moment's notice, he could take a routine five yard run and stretch it into fifty and take it to the house. Very few players possess that sort of talent and God-given ability, but Mack certainly has it.
For whatever it is worth, It doesn't appear that I'm the only one highly impressed with his skills. He certainly has no shortage of suitors, with over 20 teams heading to USF's Pro Day to lock in on his talent and formulate their final evaluations on him as a prospect. Over the course of the past two months, Mack has went from a relative unknown in a deep class to a rising prospect who could see his named called as early as the second round in April.
And if I had just one NFL Draft wish — it would be for John Elway to be making that call to bring him here to Denver.
Running Back, Junior — University of South Florida
Height: 5'11" | Weight: 213 lbs. | Arm Length: 32" | Hands: 9"
40 Yard Dash: 4.5 seconds | Bench Press: 15 reps | Vertical: 35.5" | Broad Jump: 125"
Film Room and Highlights
Hart's Scouting Report
Positives: Explosive playmaker, tremendous home run threat and three-time 1,000 yard rusher for the Bulls. Averaged a gaudy 6.2 yards per carry. Touchdown machine, scoring 33 times in only three seasons. Displays quality vision, patience, footwork and elusiveness. Lethal runner in open space — once he sees daylight, it's game over. Has an exceptional getaway gear and will be able to outrun NFL defenders. Impeccable change of direction skills and premier ability to kick it outside for big gains. Above-average receiving skills and turned up his game in that regard in 2016.
Negatives: Too upright of a runner, which could lead to punishment in the NFL. Doesn't use an overpowering run style and lacks the strength to consistently break tackles. While terrific running outside the numbers, he isn't as decisive with runs on the interior. Adjustment to a prototypical NFL running game will be necessary as USF ran a very shotgun heavy, read-option offense. Ball security issues, fumbling the ball twelve times out of 586 total carries. Unseasoned and will need improvement in pass protection.
Overall: Day 2 Prospect. Mack's take it to the house mentality will be highly sought after for teams looking for a big play threat at running back. However, the aforementioned issues might cause him to slip a bit during the draft. He may never be the workhorse back for a team, but would be a quality complimentary option for a team in desperate need of speed and big play ability out of their backfield.
Hart’s Pro Comparison: LeSean McCoy
Does Marlon Mack make sense for the Broncos?
I may be in the minority, but the Denver Broncos don't have a lot to write home about at the running back position. I wasn't too thrilled about them bringing back C.J. Anderson on a lucrative contract and don't think that Devontae Booker will be anything more than just another guy. From my perspective, the stable is pretty bare behind those two guys, and if Anderson doesn't get in shape, stay healthy and perform well in 2017, he is a player who will likely be cut to save money (nearly $4 million) next offseason.
The Broncos appear to have a significant interest in Mack and it's quite obvious why. He's a totally different beast than anyone else on their roster. I believe his unique skillset could be maximized with the team's new offense and would give them the big play threat they desperately need out of their backfield. If the Broncos aren't able to land a prospect like Christian McCaffrey on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, don't be surprised to see Denver select Mack on Day 2 of the draft, likely in the third round where they hold two selections.
Denver hasn't hit on too many offensive prospects in Elway's era as general manager, and their track record with running backs certainly hasn't been good. They'll have a shot at redemption with ten selections in this year's draft and I'm hopeful that bringing Mack into the fold would help buck that trend and pay big dividends for the team not only in 2017, but for the long haul.