Why Mark Ingram? What is the facination with this young man?
I get that he is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. I get that he is is an upstanding man. I get that he played for a great program at Alabama and in perhaps the most competitive league (SEC). But what is it about him that makes all the so-called draft gurus say he's going to be the Dolphins' choice in the first round of the April 28 draft?
Personally, I believe the Dolphins will select from the school of great need. They will select trade down.
Have I said it often enough? This team needs more picks more than ever with a likely coming rookie wage scale making draftees more valuable and cheaper than ever at a time the Dolphins lack a second round pick. So trading down in the first round and getting back a late second-rounder -- as Miami did last year -- or perhaps and early third-rounder, is a huge necessity.
Failing that, however, would the Dolphins use their pick on the 5-10 and 215-pound Ingram?
There's multiple ways of looking at this. From a historical and philosophical perspective is one way and that one suggests Miami should not go with Ingram.
Last season a alone a swing around NFL backfields revealed only two difference-making backs that were picked in the first round. Those were Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.
Other RBs picked that early were not nearly as impressive. Ryan Mathews, Reggie Bush, Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells, Donald Brown, and closer to home, Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams were not difference makers despite being former first-round picks.
And in the meantime, running backs that didn't have that type of draft pedigree did make a splash. LeGarrette Blount was undrafted before doing fine work for Tampa Bay as a rookie. Arian Foster led the league in rushing and his pedigree is he was not drafted and toiled on Houston's practice squad before exploding onto the scene.
The point is effective running backs can be found throughout the draft and sometimes as free agents as well.
Special running backs, of course, are different.
Special ones like Marshall Faulk or Edgerrin James or Peterson are more than worthy of a high pick. But that leads us to the next perspective we must discuss in breaking down the Ingram possibility: Is he special?
He doesn't have great size as established above. He doesn't have great speed as evidenced by his 4.63 time in the combine and then 4.55 time at his Pro Day. By the way, what was going on with this kid around combine time that he was so unimpressive?
OK, well, maybe he's a monster on the field? He was very, very good in 2009 when he earned the trophy. But he was hurt much of 2010. He is a plugger. He merely plug away, plugs away in 5-, 6-, 4-yard bursts to get his yards. The 85-yard runs? The screen passes where he made two guys miss? The run up the middle where he ran around a linebacker and through the chest of a safety?
I didn't see that.
Don't get me wrong. Ingram is a nice player. He's a good player. I'd love for the Dolphins to have him. But I would hate for them to invest the No. 15 pick in the draft to get him.
Please remember that the draft is about getting value as well as a good player for your pick. Think about that because that idea has worked against the Dolphins previously.
I point you to 2008 when the Dolphins could have picked QB Matt Ryan with the first pick. They picked Jake Long. Long is a wonderful player. He's been a Pro Bowl player each of his first three seasons. But he's a left tackle.
He'll never lead a team to a Super Bowl. He'll never have the ball in his hands when the game is decided. He'll never be a difference-maker. So yes, the Dolphins got a great player with their first overall pick in 2008.
But they would have gotten more value if they had chosen Ryan, who is a very good quarterback and might someday do those things I just mentioned that a difference-making player can provide. Again, value can be just as important as production with the draft.
The 15th overall selection, provided Miami doesn't trade, should bring a special player. That pick should go to a difference-maker.
I believe Ingram will be a good platoon back. But a guy opposing defenses will have to game-plan for throughout the next four or five years?
I might need an eye exam. Because I don't see it.