Mark Ingram – 1st round RB

by Tommy Lawlor  –

I watched an episode of Path to the Draft on the NFL Network last week and was dismayed at the discussion they had about Alabama RB Mark Ingram.  Is he a 1st rounder?  Huh?  How the hell is Ingram not a 1st rounder?

The talking heads (not Mike Mayock) were picking him apart for not being an elite RB.  He lacks special speed.  Okay, I can buy that.  Ingram isn’t Adrian Peterson, Cadillac Williams, or Ronnie Brown.  Those were 225-pound RBs that ran exceptionally well and were gifted athletes.

One genius talked about his limited carries.  This seemed pretty stupid.  Go back to 2009.  Ingram had 271 carries in 14 games.  That is 19.4 per contest.  Take out his 3 low games (blowouts over FIU, North Texas, and Chattanooga) and he averaged 22 carries per game.  A RB in the SEC getting 22 carries a game is a workhorse in my mind.  The numbers did dip in 2010.  Ingram had minor knee surgery early in the year.  He only had 9 carries in his first game back (vs Duke – 151 yards).  After that he averaged 15 carries a game.  He wasn’t nearly as much of a workhorse as the year before, but it was hardly as if he was in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries.  Ingram can absolutely be a workhorse.

Charles Davis, who never says anything negative, questioned whether Ingram is the kind of RB you want to feed the ball 20 times a game in the NFL.  Charles, why did your first negative comment have to be such a dumb one?  Ingram is the kind of RB you absolutely feed the ball to.  He moves the chains and is the foundation of the offense.  Have we learned nothing from guys like Emmitt Smith, Thomas Jones, and Curtis Martin?  You don’t need to be 6’2, 225 with a 4.45 40 time to be a feature back in the NFL.

Ingram has the build I want in a RB at 5’9, 220.  He runs in the 4.5 range, which is plenty fast.  Trung Canidate was a 4.3 RB.  How’d that work for him?  Speedy RBs like Chris Johnson that actually pan out are the exception and not the rule.  RBs must have good vision and good feet.  Ingram is excellent in both areas.

I love the way he runs.  He goes hard.  He runs with attitude.  Arm tackles won’t bring him down.  He is balanced, under control, and strong.  You can’t count on huge plays, but he’ll get you 4 yards a pop and keeps the sticks moving.  That is what the average team should look for in a RB.

Ingram caught 60 passes in college, most of them screens.  He’ll be solid in that area.  You can count on him to work hard to develop as a pass blocker.  He’s been coached by Nick Saban so you know he can handle a tough, competitive environment.

I’m not big on 1st round RBs, but Ingram is the kind of player I really like.  Set aside the measurables for a minute.  He just has the kind of drive and internal motivation that I want in a feature back.  He wants the ball.  Ingram has confidence in his ability to get the job done.  Not an outward bravado, but more of self-assuredness in the way he plays.  Any player can woof about how great he is after a big play.  I want the guy who is the silent assassin.  Ingram is that kind of guy.  I would absolutely spend a pick in the 11-20 range on Ingram.

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