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Colts' 2022 NFL Draft Primer: Running Backs

The Colts' NFL Draft Primer series continues with the next position group of focus. Which running backs in this class fit the Indianapolis Colts?

As much as it pains me to say, the Indianapolis Colts are officially in draft season. The 2021 season is officially in the books and it is time to start looking at prospects in this upcoming class.

Yesterday, I wrote all about the top quarterbacks in the draft and which day two players could fit the Colts, if they decide to go that route. Today, I am jumping to the next positional group on the docket; running backs.

Running back is a bit tougher to write about for the Colts, as the team has their top two backs locked in for the foreseeable future in Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Where they could use some help is the depth behind those two. The sole player in that spot is 2021 UDFA Deon Jackson at the moment.

The Colts could potentially use a day three pick to find a sturdy third running back in this upcoming class. With that in mind, here are a few running backs to watch in the All-Star circuit that the Colts could add in this upcoming class.

Senior Bowl

Dameon Pierce, Florida (5'10" 215 pounds)

Pierce is the number one name to watch at the Senior Bowl for Colts' fans. He is a sturdy back that is a tone-setter in the backfield. He finished his final year with the Gators rushing 100 times for 574 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 19 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.

Pierce would make a ton of sense if he slipped late enough in the draft for the Colts. He is a powerful enough bruiser to be a backup to Taylor, but also a smooth pass catcher that could fill in behind Hines as well. While his college stats aren't too special, he is a fun player to watch that will churn out a good pro career.

Rachaad White, Arizona State (6'2" 210 pounds)

The other player to watch at the Senior Bowl is ASU running back Rachaad White. The former JUCO back had a really productive year for the Sun Devils in 2021, rushing the ball 182 times for 1,000 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 43 passes for 456 yards and one touchdown.

White is a versatile, do-it-all back that reminds me a lot of Marlon Mack. He isn't super athletic, but he has a nice jump cut and can be slippery in the open field. He won't break off too many huge plays in the NFL, but he is a reliable player that will churn out a lot of positive plays.

He would be a perfect fit behind Taylor and Hines in Indy.

Shrine Game

Leddie Brown, West Virginia (5'11" 210 pounds)

Brown is one of the most interesting names at the East-West Shrine Game in 2022. He was a very productive college back, amassing over 3,000 yards from scrimmage in his career. He finished off the 2021 campaign rushing the ball 223 times for 1,065 yards with 13 touchdowns.

Brown is the definition of a solid running back. He isn't super explosive or dynamic, but he gets the job done. He is a downhill runner that is excellent at finding space on the ground. There aren't many clear weaknesses in his game, and he has the mindset to contribute on special teams early.

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If the Colts just want a steady presence to round out their running back group, Brown would be an excellent fit.

Ty Chandler, North Carolina (5'10" 210 pounds)

If the Colts want to go with the more electric option, Ty Chandler will also be at the Shrine Game. Transferring from Tennessee to take over for Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, Chandler had a strong final season with the Tar Heels. He finished the year with 182 carries for 1,092 yards and 13 touchdowns on the ground.

Chandler is a silky smooth runner that can take the top off of the defense when given space. He may not be as well rounded as some of the other options on this list, but he fits a similar mold and skillset as Deon Jackson on the Colts.

If the Colts want to add more competition to Jackson in training camp, Chandler could be a fun option late in the draft.

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NFLPA Bowl

Travis Dye, Oregon (5'10" 190 pounds)

If the Colts are purely looking for a player that backup up Hines and his role on the team, Dye could be an interesting day three option in this class. A productive player in college, Dye amassed 1,600 total yards in 2021 (1,271 rushing, 402 receiving). He also scored 18 total touchdowns for the Ducks.

Dye is a bit of a weird projection because he is a smaller back without blazing speed. Where he brings value is in his route running and ability to get open as a pass catcher. If he can learn to fully embrace that role in the NFL, he should be able to churn out an NFL career.

I don't know if the Colts need a player like this in 2022, but he is interesting enough to look at late in the draft/as an UDFA.

Will the Colts Take a Running Back in this Class?

While running back is certainly not a need for this team, it could be a position that they take a shot at on day three of the draft. The Colts are one injury away from being really weak at the position.

The better play for this spot may be to sign a veteran in free agency that can play special teams. That way the Colts have a backup that can dress on Sundays in the event that one of the top guys go down.

Regardless of what the team does, running back is one of the least worrisome positions on the roster. Whatever they ultimately do at this spot will likely end up being perfectly fine.


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