Mark Ingram and the Pips

Mark Ingram

Will the Patriots add a Heisman Trophy Winner to offset their future losses at running back?

(This article was originally published on Patriots Insider)

While there is a healthy debate on the best prospect available for most positions in the 2011 NFL Draft, Alabama’s Mark Ingram has already wrapped up the title of “Best RB Available.”

Ingram certainly projects as a 1st Round selection this April, with a top ten selection not out of the question.

Whenever you are looking at drafting a player in the first round, the intangibles are often just as important as what you can see on the field. Teams are very wary of picking another Ryan Leaf or Charles Rogers. This former Heisman Trophy recipient certainly seems to act the part. Gentry Estes, former Alabama and current Georgia reporter had this to say on Ingram’s commitment to the game.

From Mark Ingram’s first practice at Alabama, he impressed coaches with his maturity and overall knowledge and passion for the game,” Estes stated. “Football was just so important to him. Because of that, he never got full of himself or complacent.

A great mental state can get you so far, but you do need some talent to make it in the NFL. Ingram doesn’t disappoint in that area either. His power and speed combination is rare, allowing him to be nearly equally effective inside and outside the tackles. He also excels in the passing game, although his protection skills need a bit of polish.

Perhaps the only thing holding Ingram back from being an even higher pick in 2011 is the lack of bad teams that need a new ball-carrier. That said, these three teams certainly could use an upgrade at the position.

Unfortunately for Ingram, perhaps the first team that has a realistic need at running back is Washington, with Clinton Portis unable to be counted upon and Rex Grossman in need of a strong running game. Mike Shanahan has never been one to draft RB’s too high, but Dan Snyder might enjoy making a glitzy pick.

Miami certainly seem like a natural fit for Ingram, as Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams might be on their way out. Ingram also has extensive experience in the Wildcat offense, although that might be a moot point with the Dolphins quarterbacks coach David Lee, “inventor” of the Wildcat, leaving for Ole Miss.

New England is another team that could use some youth at the running back position, as Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor aren’t getting any younger. The Patriots have a legitimate starter in Ben-Jarvus Green-Ellis, but a 1-2-3 punch of Ingram, Green-Ellis, and Danny Woodhead would make an incredible offense even more dangerous.

If Ingram ends up in the right system, with a decent offensive line in front of him, the sky is the limit for his NFL future. One need only look to Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew, another small but powerful back that has nary a weakness to be found, to see what Ingram might become.

If teams aren’t able to land Ingram, there are a few consolation prizes out there. Check out the rest of the top 5 at Patriots Insider.


10 Responses to “Mark Ingram and the Pips”

  1. Sean says:

    One team that I see no one talking about Ingram going to is the Rams at 14. They need a WR but A.J. Green will be long gone and if Julio Jones is also not there because a WR needy team like the Browns/Redskins take him I think Ingram has a good shot to land in St. Louis. Steven Jackson has a lot of wear (7yrs) and last year his Avg slipped under 4 yds for the first time. Adding someone like Ingram to the mix would prolong his career and give Bradford another weapon. Spagnuolo has seen a two back approach work in NY (Jacobs/Bradshaw).

  2. cash says:

    I like Ingram too but I dont think that the pats need him nor want to draft a 1st rd RB. I dont think BB values RBs that high, and I am a strong believer in not drafting a RB in the 1st rd. RB is the easiest position to come to the nfl playing, that is why half the rbs in the league are undrafted. I would much rather draft a big guy in the trenches that controls the game instead of a rb. Plus rbs dont last very long in the league because of all the punishment they take. RB is the most overated position in the league, give me Green Ellis 6 days a week and twice on sundays.

    P.S. I remember when Reggie Bush was coming in the league and everyone thought he was a no-brainer 1st overall pick, and people thought that the texans were crazy to pass on him and take Mario Williams a DE. If people would open there eyes and realize that the pats were just coming off a couple super bowls with a Antoine Smith at RB. Now look at it, you have Mario williams top 5 defensive lineman in the game, controls the flow of the game, rushes the passer, stops the run, hes everything you want in a player. Now look at Reggie Bush, hes a 3rd string rb (playing behind 2 Undrafted FAs) who cant carry the load and returns kicks, and is making TONS of money taking up cap space.

    build the draft in the trenches (seymour,warren,wilfork,mankins)
    not RB

    • Steve says:

      Cash, I agree, believe it or not, that’s why I was dismissing the pick out of hand a few months ago, but only in the past week started to second guess myself on the player and the Pats drafting him. So, I felt like writing about “why” they actually wouldn’t shock me if they did use one of these late 1st rounders (33 also) to grab him.
      Backs can be found from free agency, deep in the draft, or off the street, it seems, and the position is not highly valued anymore in this passing league, and most teams use multiple backs, and most backs just don’t last that long; and I mentioned we have a few good ones.

      I just wanted to toss some reasons out there why this one particular player could make them think a bit. My opinion is they won’t, for all the reasons you stated, and I had said also, but he reminds so much of Faulk and seems like such a special kid, and this draft is so terrible, that I just wouldn’t be shocked if it did happen; especially later..32 or 33, not so much 17.

      • cash says:

        I agree the Pats are in a great position this year. I think we all agree that the QBs are not worth taking high this year so with the 17th pick thats where a team might be offering a lot to move into that spot to take a QB. An offer would prob be a 2012 1st, which would be really high for a team needing a QB, and either a 2011 2nd or 3rd and maybe a later pick.

        The only teams the should think about taking a 1st rd RB are teams that dont have many holes. Last years pick by the Bills (CJ Spiller) could of been one of the worst picks ever. Not because hes a bad player, but because that team is so bad and a RB cant do anything for the team if theres no OL to block, good WR to catch the ball, or a DEF that can give the OFF the ball back.

        Depending on what happens with the 17th pick i wouldnt mind Ingram with the right pick (and value of course).

  3. Steve says:

    I’m going to sneak in a comment on your newest mock draft. First let me say that I like the Pats picks; but, possibly the best player in the country, Fairley, doesn’t drop to #9 unless he holds up a convenience store.
    This is the problem I have with so many mock drafts; they over-think, and the allow the better players (lower risk ones also, at high need…trench guys like Fairley) to simply fall to the teens etc…
    Here’s the rule: the best players get drafted first.
    I realize QB’s throw off things a bit, and “need” plays a role, but the need thing is over-stated to a degree. When you’re drafting that high you HAVE to hit on a player that can change your team…a very solid OT (in recent years we’ve seen this…and for a good reason), a very solid DT that changes games (Fairley), and then some very special players…like AJ Green, Peterson etc…But Fairley is near the top 3, and I believe he’s ok for a 3-4 or 4-3…Bowers you have to think about system a bit more, even if you grade him slightly higher.

    All that said, I do like what you have for the Pats…it would be nice.

    • prioris says:

      Good point about overthinking and needs. Needs comes into picture to smaller degree. Better to just figure out who best players are overall and go from there with some very minor adjustments for needs.

      I wouldn’t put any QB in top 15 or maybe even first round except for Luck.

      • Steve says:

        I agree…the QB’s look terrible…good luck to the teams that take them. I’m thinking that this may help the Pats because maybe around 17 there begins a run on the position and they can gain something.

        The whole “need” and “best player available” thing is nothing but rhetoric, and for some reason everyone seems to think when GM’s and coaches use these phrases and terms it actually means something. If the Pats, at 17, have a QB graded as their “best player available”, for example, they’re NOT taking him. They don’t “need” a QB that badly…they have a pretty good one. And, if a team, say the Pats again, drafts a DT at 17, and they claim (to the media) that he was the “best player available”, or, “the guy we wanted all along” it’s just usually not true. What else are they going to say? That we wanted another player, we screwed up or the kid is someone we feel we got stuck with?” There comments are meaningless; yet, so many fans take these comments and use them as entire drafting strategies. The fact is teams make picks based on need and based on how they grade out (to them, in their system), and it varies round from round according to value/money, and other factors.

        Also, all teams fail at this…and by a large percentage. Some do better than others, obviously, but they all have high failures…just look at past drafts and see who remained on the team and produced. The free agents playing on the Pats are proof of how flawed the system of evaluatiing is. That’s why the Pat’s strategy of gaining more picks is better…because more picks allows for more failures and more players will make be filtered out in the process.

  4. prioris says:

    BB could surprise and take him at 32 or 33 based on best available basis. the best place to pick most of the top RB would be middle of second round. You want to save 17th choice for harder to get positions like DE or CB (there is dirth of good ones this year)

    If he lasts, BB could trade up with their last second round and last third pick and take him then. I would draft an OL person with him if necessary for future. An RB without decent OL line is a defunct roster spot.

  5. Steve says:

    Well, I was one of the first guys who laughed when I first saw his name mentioned with the Pats in all the mock drafts going back months ago. I just couldn’t see the Pats taking a running back in the first round; especially with Maroney still fresh in my memory. Also, there were other factors:
    -The Raiders pick was looking to be much higher
    -The NFL is a passing league, especially the Pats with Brady
    -The Pats have found a solid running back in BJGE (and Woodhead)

    That being said, I love this player…he’s the type of runner I love watching…vision. I think of him as Kevin Faulk with more size, so more of an everydown back; yet there are few RB’s who can receive like Faulk, or block like him on 3rd down pressure. I’m talking his running style, but I do see him as a decent receiver…screen type back. More so, he’s just extremely talented.

    Now that are pick has slipped to 17, and the draft is getting weaker and weaker by the day, I can see us considering him. I highly doubt that Taylor will be back, and Morris is unlikely also. So, we’ll need another RB…that’s for sure. I also believe he’s the type of football player that BB loves to coach…the anti-Maroney, and a great compliment to BJGE, and I have to say with more talent…no slight to BJGE…hope he’s around for another decade.

    So, I’m thinking that it may just be possible that they take him, even at 17. I’m seeing this draft as being pretty thin these days, and at 17 it would be adding a very solid positional player, and possibly a team leader going forward.

    The ideal situation would be for him to run slowly at the combine so he slips to the end of the first. The other teams won’t have the luxury of taking a “slower” running back in the first with their one pick in weak draft…too risky,and just not that smart a move. He could fall to us where we have the two picks back-to-back…it would make more sense then…easier to swallow making the move on any RB.

    p.s I still love LeShoure, but I do think Ingram is slightly better…we’ll see.

    • Liam says:

      “He could fall to us where we have the two picks back-to-back…”

      Whoa, let’s not get ahaed of ourselves here. We don’t have the 32nd pick locked down yet. don’t jinx it or anything.

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