Running backs have been a big topic of discussion on the Miami Herald site lately and that continues today.
My column in today's newspaper looks, in part, at Mark Ingram Jr. and how the Dolphins should not discount him based on what the naked eye suggests are his drawbacks.
I've been lukewarm on Ingram until now because, frankly, he doesn't look impressive to me. He's not big. He's not fast. He's just, just, productive.
Then I got three sources on the phone. I reached out to personnel men -- one of whom is still in the NFL, all of whom own Super Bowl rings -- and they told me not to caught up in searching for a prototype running back.
There are none.
Running backs, unlike all the other positions, do not need to come in one particular shape or size to play well. Even the Dolphins, a team whose draft principles is picking for prototype size, understand that doesn't necessarily apply to running back.
At least I hope they do. One of the people I spoke with has talked with Jeff Ireland and he's certain Ireland understands running backs are the exception in the hunt for prototypical size.
Just look at some that succeeded. Chris Johnson, arguably the most dangerous runner in the NFL the past two years, is tall and lanky. He also happens to be fast as a spy plane. Marion Barber is compact and stocky and not very fast. Darren McFadden is big and loose in the hips and fast. Curtis Martin weighed 207 pounds. John Riggins weighed 237 pounds. Barry Sanders was 5-9 and he looked nothing like 5-9 Emmitt Smith.
They were or are all very good to great. There was not one prototype among them.
I tell you more about Ingram in the column. I also share with you the opinions of the experts on other players available in the draft. Hint: They aren't sold on picking offense if the best playmaker on the board is a defender.