When rumors recently emerged that two teams in need of running backs removed 2009 Heisman winner Mark Ingram from their draft boards, we immediately suspected that one of those teams secretly hopes Ingram will slide into their clutches. It’s one of the bizarre realities of the draft, where teams that don’t want a player will talk him up so that someone else will take him — and where teams that like a player will trash him in the hopes that he’ll slide down the board, and into their clutches.
As to Ingram, we suspect that Patriots coach Bill Belichick and/or one of his lieutenants are spreading rumors about Ingram’s knee, because Belichick knows that Ingram could give the Patriots’ offense something that it has been lacking since the days of Corey Dillon — a legitimate, high-end threat on the ground.
Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald addresses that possibility, with quotes from unnamed scouts who see Ingram helping the Patriots develop a complete, and deadly, offensive attack with Ingram in the backfield.
“If they ever got the running back to go with Wes Welker and those two tight ends, they’re going to be [trouble],” a “high-ranking AFC scout” told Rapoport. “Because you get a tackle-to-tackle running back like an Ingram, and the linebackers will have to play the slot and play the run. BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] is nice because he hits the hole hard. But Ingram is a pounder. What they’ve always wanted to do on offense is control the clock. And when you get a pounder at running back, you can now control the clock.”
Though Green-Ellis racked up 1,008 rushing yards in 2010, there are plenty of running backs who can churn up that kind of yardage in an offense with a passing attack led by Tom Brady. An elite runner would give the Pats the ultimate pick-your-poison proposition.
The real question, in our view, is whether the Pats would pluck Ingram off the board with the 17th pick, or whether they’d wait until their second first-rounder, the 28th overall selection.
If the Pats get him, they’ll possibly have the weapon they need to complement the balance of Brady’s career.