The Dolphins are in the market for a running back in the NFL draft.
The Dolphins are also in the market for speed on offense and the NFL draft is expected to deliver that as well.
So it stands to reason if general manager Jeff Ireland can find a running back who is fast, he can meet two needs for the price of one pick. That's the reason Alabama running back Mark Ingram was such a popular guess as the Dolphins first round pick (15th overall) according to many draft gurus with opinions. The marriage just seemed to fit.
And then Ingram ran the 40-yard dash as the NFL Combine on Sunday. And his time was a pedestrian 4.62 in one clocking, which raised some red flags and eyebrows because, well, it's never great news when a smallish back cannot run away from bigger defenders.
So is Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Tropy winner from Alabama, thus eliminated from Miami's list of possible draft day targets?
Former NFL defensive back Corey Chavous, a draft guru in his own right and founder of nfldraftnasty.com, doesn't think so. In fact, Chavous now thinks Ingram has joined some very good company.
"A lot of running backs that are the greatest of all time that haven't had the greatest of 40 times," Chavous said today on my radio show, Armando and the Amigo. "Emmitt Smith ran high 4.5s and low 4.6s. Walter Payton was also 4.5 type guy. And that's kind of what [Ingram] has got to be compared to now if you're saying he's going to be an elite running back. You look at some of the better running backs that have played with that same build and stature that haven't had great 40-yard dash times."
You can listen to the complete Armando and the Amigo interview yourself on the podcast right here. Chavous also discusses the quarterback that most impressed him during the combine.
One thing that Chavous did point out is that Ingram was not supposed to run slow. It was indeed a surprise -- obviously not a pleasant one.
"I was surprised because Ingram ran 10.7 in the 100 meters in high school so him running a 4.6 surprised me," Chavous said. "It seems he got into a stride too early and didn't stay in his explosion phase long enough."
That suggests Ingram can rehabilitate that time when he has a pro day at Alabama or a personal workout for various teams -- including the Dolphins. But even then, the 40-time is not a tolling bell of doom.
I do repeat, it is a red flag. Remember that Ingram spent parts of the 2010 season battling injury concerns. So teams will want to know if the 40 time is an outgrowth of lingering injury issues.
But will it erase him from Miami's radar? Probably not.
My take? I personally believe the Dolphins are in trade down mode already. I believe they want to add a second round pick and the only real way to accomplish that is trade out of No. 15 to lower in the first round and add a low second rounder to boot.
But you obviously need a partner to participate in that scenario. Barring that scenario presenting itself, the Dolphins will obviously still consider Ingram -- although it is hardly a certainty they will take him.