Frank Reich was talking to the media at Colts minicamp yesterday, and one topic was the team's running backs. Marlon Mack is the lead guy, Nyheim Hines the third-down back, and probably Jordan Wilkins will wind up as the proper handcuff (with Spencer Ware and Johnathan Williams more remote possibilities).
Hines, the team's fourth-round pick a year ago, is an interesting case. He caught 63 passes as a rookie, 3rd on the team behind T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. That's good. Collectively, Colts running backs caught 97 passes, more than all but nine teams.
But that wasn't an overly impressive part of the offense. Those catches went for a total of just 616 yards; the running backs weren't able to do very much with all those catches. Their average of 6.4 yards per reception was the lowest rate in the league.
|RUNNING BACK RECEIVING, 2018|
One of the things Reich said yesterday was that new additions at receiver (Parris Campbell, Devin Funchess) could affect the number of catches Hines gets. Looking at the team numbers, it's hard to see the Colts saying "We've got to get those backs 97 catches again."
I think Hines will still be a valuable part of the offense, but his receiving production might decline. Considering he averaged just 3.7 yards per carry as a runner, that's a concern for his value.