With a need for depth at running back, should the Kansas City Chiefs take a chance on Marlon Mack?
Under the lights of Sunday night football, not only did the Kansas City Chiefs suffer a hard loss to a stout contender in the Buffalo Bills, but they suffered a huge blow to their personnel as well.
Chiefs starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (The Fresh Prince of Helaire), who the Chiefs selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, was last seen Sunday night laying on a training table, slamming his fists into the surface with obvious frustration and pain, while his teammates on the field were dealt their third loss of the season.
Meanwhile, exactly 24 hours later, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor would be the leading rusher during a near upset of the Ravens on Monday Night Football, finishing the night rushing for 53 yards on 15 carries. Taylor has begun to emerge as the Colts’ new workhorse running back, leaving the future of long-time Colt Marlon Mack very much in question.
Could the paths of these two teams intersect? This amateur Chiefs writer says heck yes.
As I wrote in my last piece that I’m surprised hasn’t gotten me ran out of Chiefs kingdom, the Kansas City has not exactly had the stellar start to the season that us as fans and the Chiefs themselves were predicting. I stated in my last piece that we are only five weeks in and it is not too late for the Chiefs to right the ship, but a good running game is absolutely paramount to recovering the success of the previous seasons.
With the knee injury dealt to their workhorse running back in Edwards-Helaire, potentially sidelining him until the middle of November at the earliest, I’m afraid that Darrel Williams and Jerick McKinnon are just not going to get it done.
With the loss of Edwards-Helaire, the Chiefs are in need of a workhorse running back—a back that can hall the rock at least 10-15 times a game. It just so happens that one of that exact caliber might be about to become available in Indianapolis.
With the emergence of Taylor at running back, both Mack and the team itself are seriously discussing the possibility of shopping Mack around to other teams in need of a starting back.
Jeremy Fowler of ESPN (subscription required) reports that the Chiefs have already begun looking into the possibility of trading for Mack.
Mack would be named the starter in 2018 after former starter Frank Gore departed for free agency. The 2018 season would turn out to be a break-out season for Mack, for he would have four games where he rushed for over 100 yards, including back-to-back outings against the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders.
In turn, he became the first Colts running back to cross 100 yards in consecutive games since Joseph Addai in 2007.
During Week 15, Mack would post a season-high 27 carries for 139 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Colts blanked the Cowboys. That made Mack only the second player all season to rush for over 100 yards against the Cowboys, and the first to rush for over 100 yards and two scores since 2015.
Mack would finish the 2018 season with 908 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, as well as 17 receptions for 117 yards and a score.
During the season opener, Mack would rush for a career-high 174 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown run during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
During a Sunday night showdown, against none other than the Chiefs, Mack would rush 29 times for 132 yards during a 19-13 win over the Kansas City (who, of course, would go onto win the Super Bowl that year).
During the 2019 season, Mack would finish with 1,091 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns.
Unfortunately, Mack would be sidelined for the entirety of the 2020 season after suffering a torn Achilles during the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This would be just the latest episode in what does seem to be a troubling trend, making it appear as though the biggest flaw with Mack is that he seems to be rather prone to injury.
In fact, Mack has missed time due to injury during all of his seasons playing in the NFL.
It would certainly put the Chiefs in quite a bind if they acquired Mack after having their star running back go down with an injury, just for Mack to suffer an injury of his own. Just like that, the Chiefs have two injured backs and no answers.
That being said, the current state of the Chiefs’ running back room being what it is, that is a risk the Chiefs would probably be willing to take.
Without another viable option, if Mack can stay healthy, he would be a more than adequate answer to the Chiefs’ current issue at running back.
Not only could he carry the workload while the Fresh Prince of Helaire is regaining his health, but Mack and Edwards-Helaire might also make for a quite formidable tandem once the latter returns to the field.
What’s your price?
As far as what it might cost the Chiefs to acquire Mack, I wouldn’t think it would be overly high. Don’t get me wrong, as I am the one making the case for the acquisition of Mack, for he is only 25-years old and possibly still in his prime. However, he has only had tw relatively complete seasons (all be it very solid seasons) in the NFL.
Mack has had to miss time due to injuries and is now playing second-fiddle to Jonathan Taylor, so would it really be fair for the Colts to ask for all that much?
What is it worth to the Chiefs to try and preserve their running game in Edwards-Helaire’s absence? I would say at least a second or third-round draft pick, which is even being generous considering the Colts selected Mack in the fourth.
Perhaps one of the Chiefs’ second-string players at a position that the Colts are in need of.
The Chiefs are looking at one-month minimum without their star running back, and they absolutely can’t wait that long to start righting the ship. With it appearing that the league is beginning to figure out Patrick Mahomes and the passing game, it is absolutely crucial to keep the running game going strong.
Bottom line, we all love Edwards-Helaire and hope to see him back in pads soon, but with a 2-3 record, placing them at the bottom of the division they have always reigned supreme over, the Chiefs can’t afford to wait.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, it would be worth both teams’ time for Brett Viech to pick up the phone and place a call to Indianapolis for Marlon Mack.