INDIANAPOLIS -- Running back is on the list of needs for the Colts when you look at their roster. It’s not the biggest need; that honor goes to a number of positions (defensive line, linebacker, secondary) on defense. But running back does need to be addressed at some point in the offseason.
It’s not that Frank Gore doesn't have anything left in the tank; he did rush for 1,025 yards last season, after all. But the reality is, no matter how hard Gore trains -- many have said he’s one of the hardest workers -- he turns 34 in May. He’ll get his carries next season, but the Colts also have to find a way to reduce some of his workload and find a replacement for when he’s no longer part of the organization.
There have been several mock drafts, including one from ESPN’s Todd McShay, that have the Colts taking Florida State running back Dalvin Cook when they select 14th or 15th (a coin flip with Philadelphia will decide the order). There is a strong consensus that this year’s running-back class is deep enough that there will be quality options still available after the first round. That’s good news for the Colts, because it’ll allow them to work on their atrocious defense with earlier picks.
Here’s a look at some other running backs who could be available through the first few rounds of the draft:
Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
College stats: 210 carries, 1,294 yards, 16 TDs
Quick take: Kamara averaged 5.8 yards a pop last season at Tennessee. But you have to wonder how he'll handle being a featured back after only 210 carries in his two seasons with the Volunteers. That’s more than 400 fewer than Fournette, McCaffrey and Cook each had in their college careers.
D'Onta Foreman, Texas
College stats: 433 carries, 2,782 yards, 20 TDs
Quick take: Foreman carried the load in Texas’ backfield last season, rushing for 2,028 yards (6.3 yards a carry) and 15 touchdowns. He had only seven receptions for 75 yards, however, and he lost six fumbles.
Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
College stats: 300 carries, 2,027 yards, 17 TDs
Quick take: Talent can’t be questioned when it comes to Mixon. It’s his behavior off the field that could end up scaring many teams, including the Colts, away. Whatever team is willing to take a chance on Mixon will surely face some public-relations issues.
Here’s a look at the top 10 running backs according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. You can expect the Colts to give this group plenty of attention during next week’s combine in Indianapolis.