INDIANAPOLIS – In consecutive fourth-round picks the Colts found their offensive load for the 2017 NFL Draft.
The two offensive players chosen by the Colts are the fewest by the team since 2002.
Here's a capsule look at the Colts' two offensive selections in 2017:*Round 4, Pick 137: USC Offensive Tackle Zach Banner (6-9, 360) *-2016 Stats: 11 games played (11 starts). Was the third straight year starting at right tackle
-Career Stats: Started 38 of 40 games. Was All-Pac 12 first-team in 2015.
-Interesting Fact: Banner played on USC's basketball team in 2013.
-Banner's Quote to Note: "The strength of my game I feel like is all around, but when I get my hands on people it's usually over. I would think that would be a strength of my game. My biggest and largest strength. Like I said, there are a lot of things though to keep adding to my game that's going to make me unique, especially my size and work and preparation that I take."
-Chris Ballard's Thoughts: "Believe it or not, his pass (protection) in college was really good. He's just so hard to get around. He needs work. There's some stuff in pass pro that he still needs works on, but he's such a big man with long arms (that) he's very difficult to get around."
-Outlook: The pick that came in the Dwayne Allen trade gave the Colts another piece to a young offensive line group. Listed at 360 pounds, Banner said after being selected that he's down to 349 pounds and is planning on losing more weight. When Banner is able to engage a defender, that's not good news for the opposition. Instantly one of the NFL's biggest offensive linemen, Banner engulfs you when he's able to get his hands on an opposing player. Area scout Dave Razzano said Banner's strength is in pass protection and that the three-year starting tackle held his own this past year against UCLA first-round pick Tak McKinley. Banner, who has an engaging personality, is the biological son of three-time Pro Bowl lineman Lincoln Kennedy. By no means do the Colts need Banner to come in and play from Day One. However, drafting one offensive lineman was always a hope for Chris Ballard in 2017.*Round 4, Pick 143: South Florida Running Back Marlon Mack (5-11, 213) *-2016 Stats: 12 games played (12 starts). Had 1,187 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns on 174 carries.
-Career Stats: 36 games played (36 starts). South Florida's all-time leader in rushing (3,609 yards) and rushing touchdowns (32). Had 586 career carries.
-Interesting Fact: Mack set South Florida records for all-purpose yards (4,107) and most 100-yard rushing games (20). In Mack's first-ever college game he had 275 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries against Western Carolina.
-Mack's Quote to Note: "I'm glad I'm coming to Indy because they got a great quarterback. Big Blue is one of the best teams coming in. I love their field at the combine. It was great turf. So I'm just happy that I got picked, and I'm ready to come in and work."
-Chris Ballard's Thoughts: "We debated back-and-forth between a couple backs, and at the end of the day we went with Marlon just because of the speed and the explosive playmaking ability."
-Outlook: When the Colts were on the clock near the end of Round Four, a couple of running backs were under consideration. The speed of Mack won out in the end. That element---a home-run type hitter---is something the Colts have not had for quite some time at running back. Mack should offer a nice change of pace to Frank Gore and Robert Turbin. Remember, Gore turns 34 years old in May and is entering a contract year, so Mack could be this team's top back as early as 2018. South Florida used Mack all over their offense and his improved pass catching will be explored by the Colts. Mack almost went to UCLA to play safety out of high school. *
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