The Indianapolis Colts walked away from the 2018 NFL Draft with two running backs in the fourth and fifth rounds, which included Jordan Wilkins in the latter round.
Wilkins had an interesting season. He started the regular season as the starter with Marlon Mack dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, starting three out of the first four games. But then fell into irrelevancy during the second half of the season.
In all, Wilkins played in 16 games taking 60 carries for 336 yards and one touchdown.
Selected in the fifth round, Wilkins joined the Colts out of Ole Miss and impressed the coaching staff immediately with solid vision and a knack for grinding out yards.
This allowed him to take a share of the backfield, which earned him a season-high 14 carries in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Once Mack took over the backfield in the second half of the season, Wilkins saw a massive depletion in snap count. He wound up playing 17.4 percent of the offensive snaps and 31.3 percent of the special teams snaps on the season.
After Week 7, Wilkins didn’t see more than 13 snaps in a game. That isn’t to say he didn’t show development in his game, though. The rookie made strides and broke off some big plays when being sprinkled into the game plan. But he simply wasn’t a necessary part of the offense during the playoff run.
The Colts have shown confidence in their backfield with Mack, Nyheim Hines and Wilkins, and the latter will be looking to prove he deserves more of a role in the offense in Year 2.
—Wilkins is one of the sleepers of the loaded running back class thanks to his size, vision and top-notch agility.
—Has start-stop speed and can pull away from defenses. He’s shown nice moves with footwork and hip agility.
—Wilkins has the ability to be a one-cut performer in a zone scheme. He gets downhill in a hurry and has enough agility to shake a defender suddenly and re-direct.
—Overall running back traits like balance, vision and agility are high level from Wilkins.
—NFL scouts we spoke to love that Wilkins is relatively fresh coming out of the SEC.
—Wilkins missed the 2016 season with an academic suspension and missed time during summer practices before his senior season with an injury.
—Despite a big frame, he does not run well through contact. Can be soft in traffic and go down on first impact.
—Runs high and doesn’t drive with his legs to push piles.
—Tends to just make the most from big lanes and doesn’t always create well on his own.
—Will get caught tip-toeing through the tulips when he needs to just hunker down and run hard.
Wilkins is a bit of a hard evaluation coming off a knee injury, but he does have traits that project well to the NFL. He’s agile and quick, and his frame could support a role as a third-down player.