When Jarret Patterson left for the NFL after the 2021 season Kevin Marks became the heir apparent to the #1 spot on UB’s depth chart. For four years Marks had pushed Patterson every day for the job. At times Marks looked better than Patterson but was not the fit for the starting job that JP was.
It’s not fair to say he was backing up Patterson. While JP got more carries Marks was far more than a rotational back. Many times Marks took the offense on his shoulders and did the job just as well as JP could have.
His stats bear that out.
1,000-yard season in 2019 and a 700+ in a covid shortened 2020. Are the big numbers, he also was decisive in UB’s 2020 Bowl win as the starter.
But when the UB coaching applecart got tipped over it landed hard on the Buffalo running game. UB lost a ton of offensive linemen and picked up an offensive coordinator who wanted to run the offense differently.
The result was a system that didn’t work for Marks, and a coaching staff that had zero relationships with him.
Marks went from presumed starter to rotational back. He yards per carry went from 6.6 in 2020 to 3.8 in 2021 as Dylan McDuffie took over the starting job.
That didn’t help his stock, but the athlete that could carry an offense is still there. His pro-day number bear that out.
- 40 - 4.6, would have placed him in the top 20 running backs at the NFL combine
- Verticle - 35.5, would have placed him 7th for his position
- Broad - 9’10”, would have placed him in the top 20 among running backs
- 3 cone - 7.42, would have put him in the top 50 of all players
What he does not have, really, is the film from 2021 to break into a drafted position. It’s possible a scout takes a look at what he did in 2020 and sees him a good developmental prospect.
On film what you see is a patient runner who can wait just long enough for blocks to develop, before exploding with a great quick burst. He’s sharp on the fly and is really good at finding his lanes.
He’s also a very good pass blocking back.
Where he struggles, a bit, is on the permiter. Marks is amazing between the tackles, but comparatively, he didn’t to a lot on the outside running game.
What does this mean?
It means that Marks probably falls through the 7th round and into free agency. But given what he accomplished at Buffalo, and the success that UB’s “free agent backs” have found in the NFL, he’s going to get a serious shot somewhere this summer.