It was a bit surprising back in April when the Arizona Cardinals passed on drafting a running back. After all, the team's depth at the position was perilously thin. The problem wasn't going to go away on it's own, so it seemed likely that the front office would eventually address the issue with a free agent ball-carrier.
On Friday, that premonition came to fruition. Marlon Mack, a seventh-year veteran, was added to the Arizona roster. So what exactly can the Cardinals expect from the one-time 1000-yard rusher?
Following three outstanding campaigns at the University of South Florida, Mack made himself available for the NFL Draft in 2017. When the fourth round rolled around, the Indianapolis Colts grabbed the young runner with the 143rd overall choice. During the 14 matchups he dressed for as a rookie, Mack amassed 583 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns for the Colts scoring attack.
Mack took a substantial leap in 2018, racking up 1,011 yards from scrimmage and 10 total scores in just 12 appearances (10 starts). In 2019, the 6 foot, 210 pounder registered 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground for Indianapolis. Unfortunately, those two productive seasons would followed by a string of bad luck for the snakebitten Mack.
Marlon Mack is hoping to take advantage of a fantastic opportunity with the Arizona Cardinals
In September of 2020, Mack suffered a torn Achilles tendon during a season-opening contest with the Houston Texans. The setback has had a dramatic effect on the once-promising back's stint in the National Football League. Mack returned from the injury in 2021, but was credited with a measly 101 yards on the ground in the six contests he competed in for the Colts.
Last fall, Mack split his time between the Texans, Denver Broncos, and San Francisco 49ers. During a limited amount of action (six games) with the Broncos, the Florida native tallied 183 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Mack was with Houston for just five months, and his stay with the 49ers totaled just four weeks.
New Arizona offensive coordinator Drew Petzing is expected to devise a scheme that relies heavily on the running attack. The 36-year-old assistant was a part of a Cleveland Browns system that centered around standout backs like Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Wouldn't Petzing love to have Conner and Mack become the Cardinals version of the Chubb-Hunt duo?
Mack is joining an uninspiring crew of backups that includes Corey Clement, Keaontay Ingram, Ty'Son Williams and rookie Emari Demercado. To say that there's opportunity in the Cards offensive backfield would be an understatement. Don't be surprised if a revitalized and reenergized Mack is able to take full advantage.
(Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference)