Like most of the college blogs on the network, we’re writing draft profiles for our players who may have their names called during the NFL Draft.
Marlon Mack is one of a very small group of USF football players who delivered the goods from the very first game of their career all the way through to the last game. In his first regular-season game as a true freshman from Sarasota’s Booker High School, he tied two school records with 275 yards rushing and four touchdowns. In his last regular-season game, he ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, including one in-your-face carry where he taunted UCF’s secondary with the ball as he stiff-armed them to the ground.
In between those two games, Mack set a slew of USF records. To name just a few: Most career rushing yards (3,609). Most carries (586). Most career touchdowns (33). Most rushing yards in a season (1,381 in 2015, since broken). Most career 100-yard rushing games (20). Most career all-purpose yards (4,107). Highest yards per carry in a career (6.16).
Mack is the only USF player who has ever been named first-team all-conference three times. He was also a beacon of light for USF fans who had seen the program’s momentum grind to a complete halt in the early part of the decade. In his freshman year, he was a touch of quality to build around while the rest of the team struggled to compete. In his sophomore and junior years, he combined with quarterback Quinton Flowers to create a devastating rushing attack that delivered USF’s first 10-win season and end-of-season ranking.
Knowing that running backs have a short pro shelf life, no one was too upset when Mack decided to forego his senior year and declare for the NFL Draft. There was nothing really left for him to prove.
Strengths: Smooth, shifty runner with outstanding vision and balance. A nightmare in space against linebackers and defensive backs. Can outrun you to the corner and break big plays. Became a decent pass-catcher as a safety valve for Flowers.
Weaknesses: There are some things Mack wasn’t really asked to do in USF’s offense that he will need to do in the NFL. He didn’t have to run between the tackles a whole lot, and he likes to bounce runs outside, sometimes to his detriment. He also didn’t have many pass routes called, so we don’t know his full capability as a receiver.
NFL Comparison: He obviously has a long way to go to earn a full comparison to LeSean McCoy, but the two are very similar athletically. It’s a pity Mack is too late to play for Chip Kelly in the NFL because he could have cleaned up in a system like that, the way McCoy did in Philadelphia.
Projected Draft Pick: Most mock drafts have Mack pegged as a mid-round pick. He would be an interesting choice for teams who don’t have or can’t get a franchise back and want to be able to mix and match at the position. If the Bucs want to pick him, that’s fine too!