Much of the talk around the Texans’ 2022 offense is centered on second-year QB Davis Mills, but improving on last season’s league-worst rushing attack would give the unit a much-needed boost. The team’s first depth chart offers an important look into the team’s plans at the running back position.
Houston has listed Marlon Mack as the lead back, per Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network (Twitter link). The 26-year-old signed in April to try and rebuild his value after two disappointing campaigns with the Colts. He has played just seven games during that span, which was preceded by a two-year stretch in which he produced 1,999 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns.
Compared to the Colts’ backfield, which is now led by Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines, Mack should have a clearer path to a significant workload. He will be in competition with fellow veteran Rex Burkhead, who led the team with 427 rushing yards last season. Those two will be joined by fourth-round rookie Dameon Pierce at the top of the depth chart, which also includes Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman.
A committee approach would come as little surprise at this point, given the lack of known commodities amongst the group. A return to his previous form from Mack would, however, be a welcomed sight for both the rebuilding team and his free agent value next offseason. Failing that, more attention being given to Pierce – who averaged 5.5 yards per carry during his career at Florida – during the course of the season could be expected.
Another member of the Texans’ RB room (at least for the time being) is Darius Anderson. The TCU alum had a burglary charge against him dropped last week, but he will still not be on the field in 2022. Wilson tweets that Anderson suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. That means the soon-to-be 25-year-old will wait at least one more year to make his NFL debut, and the Texans will have a slightly clearer outlook on an important position group heading into the season.