Scouting Report: Prepare to read the most glowing scouting report on the interwebs about the Alabama Crimson Tide RB Mark Ingram. I love this kid's pro potential. I always do my best to remain objective about players, but for whatever reason, I can't do it with Ingram. I think he's going to be a dominant back in the NFL. Why? First he's got great size. Not so tall he can't get his pads low, but he's thick as a brick and can take some punishment. He's durable and has been incredibly productive while playing against top flight competition.
Looking at him with a more analytical eye, two parts of his game stand out to me. First is his patience. It takes a special back to be able to allow his line to set up and make their blocks and Ingram is the best in the country. He never rushes and uses his exceptional vision to find the crease, make the cut and get up field. Second is his speed. Not just his short burst which is impressive, but his straightline speed is deceptive. Sometimes you see this stocky, low pad kind of player and figure even if he gets outside he isn't going to run away from anyone, but I've seen it happen.
Draft Status: The 2011 draft could be looked at in ten years as the year of the running back with a dozen guys who could start in the NFL soon. But Ingram is the best. Running backs are always grossly undervalued in the draft, but you always see a couple that teams take a chance on in the first because of the things they bring to the table. I expect Ingram to be one of those guys, probably somewhere between picks 12-20.
Final Analysis: It's hard to find anything to truly dislike about Ingram's game. Aside from everything mentioned already, he's an adequate blocker in pass protection and quite an accomplished pass receiver out of the backfied. I suppose if you had a criticism of him, he's not a great goal line/short yardage player, and compared to a guy like Chris Johnson he's not a breakaway threat. But are those really big beefs to have on a guy who can do as much as he can? In a zone blocking scheme where he's asked to stretch the play, wait for it to develop, make a cut, get up field, make a man miss and then turn it on, Ingram is a 1,500 yard a season back.
Reminds me of: Ryan Torain RB Washington Redskins. Ingram is a little shorter and stockier than Torain, but both are that one cut, foot in the ground and go type of back. In terms of talent, Ingram is much more talented, but in terms of style, he's pretty close. If you got in the time machine I see a lot of Emmitt Smith in Ingram's game. Which can only be a good thing. And if you question what type of young man he is, just go back and listen to his Heisman acceptance speech from 2010.
Red Flags: None
Scouting Report written by Curt Popejoy