Many (including me) believed that the Patriots would pounce on running back Mark Ingram, if Ingram were still on the board with the 28th pick in the 2011 draft.
Ingram indeed became the 28th pick. But he won’t be heading to New England. Instead, the Pats swung a trade with the Saints, who moved up to take the 2009 Heisman winner. The Patriots received the Saints’ second-round pick (56th overall) and the Saints’ first-round pick in 2012.
It’s the third Heisman-winning running back the Saints have taken in the first round in 12 years. In 1999, they moved up at the top of round one to get Ricky Williams, giving up all of their 1999 draft picks and a first-rounder in 2000. Five years ago, Reggie Bush fell to the Saints at No. 2. Now, they’ve got Mark Ingram.
Speaking of Bush, the arrival of Ingram could make the Saints consider even more strongly the possibility of moving on, unless Bush will dramatically reduce his 2011 base salary.
Ingram becomes the first running back picked in 2011, possibly sliding due to lingering concerns about his knee. Then there’s the fact that running backs have become roughly as fungible as punters and kickers — especially in New Orleans, where a three-headed approach has become the norm.