Whether you want to call it a rebuild, a re-tooling, or a transition period, the Philadelphia Eagles are certainly entering a new era of football.
With Doug Pederson already gone, and Carson Wentz soon to follow, it seems that it’ll be up to new head coach Nick Sirianni and second year quarterback Jalen Hurts to lead the charge in 2021. While some speculate that the Eagles could draft a quarterback with their No. 6 overall pick, all signs are pointing towards Hurts being the guy. At least for next season.
With a duel threat quarterback in Hurts, Sirianni will more than likely build his offense around the running game. In his limited action, Hurts was unable to prove he has the arm talent to be a franchise quarterback. That could change with time and development, but at this point his best weapon is still his legs.
Miles Sanders and Boston Scott should be focal points of Sirianni’s offense in 2021. But given how much this offense will likely focus on the running game, it would make sense for the organization to bring in another capable back.
Insert free agent running back Marlon Mack.
Mack was supposed to be the go-to back in Sirianni’s offense last season with the Colts. But just 11 snaps into his 2020 campaign, Mack tore his Achilles, effectively ending his season.
While the Achilles injury is nothing to overlook, given the fact that Mack will only be 25 years old heading into next season, I’d bet he’ll be able to bounce back. Especially if he’s in a backfield where he won’t get be the No. 1 option.
The Colts connection
Sirianni and Mack had grown close during their time in Indianapolis together. When Mack went down with his season-ending injury last year, Sirianni wore a #25 decal on his visor for the remainder of the year.
Sirianni isn’t the only coach on the staff who’s worked with Mack in Indianapolis, though. New running backs coach Jemal Singleton was Mack’s running backs coach with the Colts in 2017.
For the two full seasons that Sirianni and Mack worked together in Indianapolis, Mack amassed 1,999 rushing yards, averaged 4.55 yards per carry, and scored 18 total touchdowns. Pro Football Focus also gave Mack at least a 72.0 rushing grade in his three full seasons with the Colts, which is above average.
Why Marlon Mack makes sense for the Eagles
If the Eagles are going to have a consistent ground attack next season, they’ll need another proven ball carrier behind Sanders and Scott. Marlon Mack can easily fill that hole and he probably won’t cost much at all.
Coming off his Achilles injury, it’s very unlikely any team will sign Mack long-term — even though he is only 25 years old. PFF projects that Mack will sign for one-year, $2.5 million, with $1.75 million fully guaranteed. Regardless of how dire the Eagles cap situation is, they should be able to swing that.
Mack hasn’t showcased great pass catching ability during his career, so he’d likely just be a change-of-pace back behind Sanders. Both Sanders and Scott are solid receivers out of the backfield, so Mack’s lacking receiver abilities shouldn’t hinder him too much in Philly.
Eagles fans have been clamoring for a consistent running game for years now. With Sirianni and Hurts now leading the offense, those fans will likely get their wish. Adding Mack into the mix would only make the offense better.