Running back Donald Brown finally showed flashes of why he was Indy's first-round pick in 2009. He rushed for 645 yards and five touchdowns with an excellent 4.8 yards per carry average. Brown is ready to show the Colts he is their guy in 2012.
But so is Delone Carter.
Carter is listed at 5'9'' and 225 pounds. Brown is 5'10'' and 210 pounds. The two are pretty similar in build. As a rookie, Carter rushed for 377 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 3.7 yards per carry. To compare his rookie season to Brown's, Brown had 281 yards, three touchdowns and a 3.6 average.
Carter is a very tough runner. He is a physical back who powers his way forward for yards. In 2011, he was used mostly as a short-yardage back. He actually started one more game than Brown did, though Brown had the better season. Perhaps the coaches saw something in practice that we all missed. Maybe Brown caught fire when given his carries.
It is possible Brown and Carter both compete for the starting role. It is also likely the Colts bring in another back or give the job to Brown. However, Carter will be utilized because he is a change-of-pace back. He has a solid frame and is solid in pass protection, which is obviously loved by coaches. And when Luck is most likely the quarterback next year, he needs to be protected.
Carter is also a tough runner to tackle. He has a way of getting through tackles and fights for that extra yard. Also, being relatively unproven could work towards his advantage. He will fight for his opportunities and make the most of what he gets.
Brown doesn't plan on going away, either, however. He is a patient back who is very versatile. He is good in the open field and has decent footwork. He is agile, quick to the hole and a good pass-catcher. He also has more experience than Carter and, as a first-round draft pick, is automatically given a first look. Carter was selected in the fourth round of the draft.
So while the job appears to be Brown's to lose, Carter is a talented back who plays a different style than Brown. If both are utilized in 2012, Carter will be the short-yardage back and will have a chance to show his stuff. He has good upside and can provide the spark for his team. Carter should be given a chance to be more of a factor in the offense as he brings a unique talent package to the Colts.