Mark Ingram

10 Bold Predictions for the NFL Draft

10. Al Davis will shake things up
Normally this wouldn’t be a bold prediction, but without a 1st-round pick Davis will have to get creative.  Perhaps he’ll trade into the 1st round in an effort to land Jason Campbell’s eventual replacement. Ryan Mallet certainly fits the mold of an Al Davis quarterback…

9. Two or fewer trades occur in 1st round
After this weekend, no one knows when the next time will be that teams will have opportunity to fill holes. This could be their only chance to address some needs before the free agency period – which may not be as active as we’re used to. Draft picks are more valuable than ever this year and most teams will be reluctant to part with them.

8. Patrick Peterson comes off the board within the first six picks
Most mock drafts have Peterson falling to the 49ers, but he won’t last that long (sorry Niners fans). Denver supposedly likes him. Buffalo is unpredictable, so who knows what they’ll do. Arizona could settle for him. Dallas could trade up. And if all else fails, the Browns will snatch him up at No. 6.

7.  Mark Herzlich has a looooong wait in Radio City Music Hall
Herzlich is one of the 25 players attending the draft, and while the cancer survivor will get a great ovation when he is finally selected, he’s going to be waiting awhile. He clearly lost a step after returning to the field this past year, and he is unlikely to come off the board with in the first three rounds. 

6. Three receivers go in the 1st round
A.J. Green and Julio Jones will go in the top 10, but someone else will join them later in the 1st round.  The Rams could trade back and select some such as Titus Young or Jon Baldwin. The Falcons and Jets are two others possibly interested in a receiver in the late 1st.

5. Mark Ingram falls to the late 1st… and possibly further
Running backs have such a short lifespan in the NFL and are so readily available in the middle rounds of the draft that teams are becoming increasingly less interested in spending high picks on them. Ingram is the consensus top available player at the position, but there are very few teams desperate to fill a hole at that position. If the Dolphins don’t take him at No. 15, he’ll fall into the 20s and possibly into the 2nd round.

4. The Jaguars shock us with their 1st round pick
It will be tough to top the Tyson Alualu selection, but GM Gene Smith will surprise us once again.  Maybe they decide to go for a quarterback? Mallett? Locker? Ponder? Or maybe they reach for a receiver? Titus Young? Torrey Smith?

3. Rumors of Da’Quan Bowers’ fall prove to be greatly overstated
Those screaming the loudest that Bowers knee is probably are probably the ones hoping he falls to them. I wouldn’t be shocked if he lands in Cleveland at No. 6 and I have a hard time seeing him fall further than No. 12 to the Vikings. Sorry Bucs fans, he’s not going be there at No. 20.

2. Jake Locker falls further than expected
Rumors have swirled that the Redskins may want him at No. 10. If I had to bet I’d say they do like him, but would prefer to wait until the 41st selection. Nothing he did on the field this year resembled a 1st-round pick, let alone a top-10 pick. Most teams love his talent – and it only takes one to make him a 1st-round pick – but he still has a 2nd or 3rd round grade on most draft boards. 

1. Only three quarterbacks will go in the 1st round
Despite rumors that as many as five signal callers could go in the top 32 picks, only three will actually come off the board – Newton, Gabbert and third (possibly to the Dolphins). Everyone else will wisely wait until the 2nd and 3rd round where less money will be on the line.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

NFL Comparisons for Draft Prospects

There really isn’t a perfect comparison for Patrick Peterson because the NFL has never seen a player with his size and athleticism. But in his era, Rod Woodson was the equivalent - a man with cornerback skills and safety size. Woodson went on to a Hall of Fame career, as both a cornerback and safety, and Peterson could follow a similar career path in the pros. Read more
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Dolphins meeting with five running backs

With both Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams set to be come free agents, it’s no surprise that the Miami Dolphins are doing their homework on the running backs in this year’s draft class.

According to various reports, the Dolphins are meeting with (or already have met with) Mario Fanin, Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure, Bilal Powell and Ryan Williams.

Ingram has been a popular pick for the Dolphins in mock drafts through the offseason (including my own) but LeShoure could be an option in the 1st round as well.

Personally, I like Leshoure more than Ingram. Leshoure is a better all-around athlete and I think he’s better suited to carry the load in the NFL. Ingram can be successful but he’ll be better off in a two-back system, which the Dolphins may not have in 2011.

The other three running backs getting a look from the Dolphins – Williams, Fanin and Powell – will likely be considered in the later rounds.

The Dolphins don’t own a 2nd-round pick, which means they’ll probably need to trade up to land Williams, who is likely to come off the board within the first 50 picks.

Fanin and Powell, however, should fall to the 3rd round or beyond and could be late-round options. It’s possible that the Dolphins would draft Ingram or Leshoure in the 1st round and still select a player like Fanin or Powell later in the draft.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Dolphins Comments Off

NFL Combine prop bets?

For the past few years Bodog.com has sent me a list of NFL Draft prop bets. I always just hit the delete button because I have better things to do in late April than waste my time trying to figure out if the Big East or ACC will have more top-50 picks or whatever other nonsense they come up with.

But this year they’re stepping up their game, and I’m intrigued.

I recently received an email with NFL Combine prop bets. This is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could bet on, because we’re talking about a difference of hundredths of a second, or quarters of an inch on some of these, but hey, it’s not like anything else interesting is going on in the sports world in late February.

So I’ll take the time to weigh in on a few…

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Christian Ponder (QB FSU)                                 -120
Jake Locker (QB Washington)                           -120

This is a gimme. Locker should be faster than Ponder by a full 10th of a second (and that fact that .10 is considered a large margin is exactly why you’re a fool if you bet on any of these).

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Mark Ingram (RB Alabama)                                 -120
Ryan Williams (RB Virginia Tech)                     -120

Supposedly Ingram is going to run in the 4.4s, but I’ll believe it when I see it. My money’s on Williams.

Who will have the fastest 40 Yard Dash Time
Julio Jones (WR Alabama)                                  Even
Jon Baldwin (WR Pittsburgh)                               -130

Baldwin’s camp has been hyping him up and he reportedly has been clocked in the 4.3 range. Not sure I believe that, but it won’t be difficult for him to post a better time than Jones. I’ll be mildly surprised if Jones cracks 4.5.

Who will the most bench press repetitions?
Nate Solder (OT Colorado)                                  -130
Gabe Carimi (OT Wisconsin)                               Even

Carimi is the easy choice here. Not only does he just appear more muscular than Solder, but Solder is 6’8″ – the taller you are, the harder it is to get large number of reps on the bench.

Who will have the highest vertical leap?
A.J. Green (WR Georgia)                                    -130
Patrick Peterson (CB LSU)                                 Even

This could be a close call, but my money’s on Peterson. It’s very rare for someone with Green’s height to compete with a guy like Peterson in the vertical.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

All-Overrated Team (pre-combine edition)

QB – Jake Locker, Washington
Locker is all hype and no substance. He lacks the accuracy to play quarterback in the NFL and he’s going to fall out of the 1st round.
RB – Mark Ingram, Alabama
Ingram wasn’t even the best running back on his own team this past season. Comparisons to Emmitt Smith are being tossed around, but he reminds me more of Ron Dayne.
WR – Jonathan Baldwin, Pittsburgh
A gifted athlete with elite size and strength, but just doesn’t play up to his potential.
TE – D.J. Williams, Arkansas
Athletic, but doesn’t really have a position. Too short to be a star at tight end.
OT – Nate Solder, Colorado
Suffering (or benefiting, I guess) from the media’s Bruce Campbell syndrome. He’s athletic, but far from a finished product.
OG – Mike Pouncey, Florida
He’s not his brother. He’s good, but his stock in the media has risen because of his last name.
DE – Adrian Clayborn, Iowa
After a stellar 2009 he took a step backwards as a senior. There are some concerns about his effort on the field.
DT – Marcell Dareus, Alabama
He’s never performed at an elite level as a full-time starter – not exactly the résumé of a top-10 pick.
OLB – Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
Is he strong enough to play defensive end? Is he athletic enough to play linebacker?
ILB – Greg Jones, Michigan State
A gifted athlete who consistently falls short of expectations. He benefits from a very weak class for the position.
CB – Brandon Harris, Miami FL
Fast enough to stick with anyone, but he’s undersized and consistently gets beat by more physical receivers.
S – Robert Sands, West Virginia
Its easy to be intrigued by his size, but very few have ever played the position effectively at his size.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft 1 Comment

Bengals targeting a RB in the draft?

I’m still shocked that Jay Gruden – with nothing more than a part-time gig under his brother in Tampa on his NFL résumé – is the offensive coordinator of the Bengals. But there was a press conference yesterday, so I guess its really happening.

The biggest news from the conference was that Gruden will install a west coast offense. He also stressed running the ball:

We have to run the ball between the tackles. We have to be a physical team up front. We’re going to challenge our offensive line to be physical… I intend on pounding the ball.”

Those are interesting comments considering the Bengals ran the ball almost exclusively with Cedric Benson in 2010, who is now a 28-year-old free agent coming off a disappointing year.

This past year Benson carried the ball 321 times, becoming the 36th running back over the age of 27 with at least 300 carries in a season over the past two decades. Of the previous 35, only 13 times [by eight different RBs] has that player carried the ball at least 200 times while averaging at least 4.0 yards per attempt the following year – Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Tiki Barber, Ricky Watters, Thomas Jones, Jerome Bettis and Priest Holmes.

Even on his best day, Benson doesn’t compare anyone in that group. More than likely he goes the route of some of the other names on the list such as Lamar Smith, James Stewart, Terry Allen and Anthony Johnson.

With that in mind, the Bengals would be wise to target a running back in this year’s draft and Gruden’s comments lead me to believe they could already be considering their options.

There isn’t a running back worthy of a top-10 pick, although I wouldn’t put it past the Bengals front office (a.k.a. Mike Brown) to take Mark Ingram 4th overall.

However, it’s more likely they address this situation in the early 2nd round. It’s possible that Mikel LeShoure could fall to the 2nd day of the draft. LeShoure is a powerful between-the-tackles runner who would seem to fit perfectly into Gruden’s game plan.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft, Bengals Comments Off

Mark Ingram Scouting Report

Mark Ingram RB Alabama #22

Ht: 5’10

Wt: 215

Strengths:
Built like a true feature back. A physical, downhill runner. Adequate speed. Shows good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. Good vision, and is a patient runner. A hard worker and is well-liked by teammates and the coaching staff.
Weaknesses:
Missed two games in 2010 with a knee injury. Not very elusive; doesn’t make guys miss and doesn’t have the overpowering strength to consistently break tackles. Takes awhile to get to full speed.
Comments:
Son of former Giants receiver Mark Ingram… Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy, but by the end of the year he wasn’t even the best running back on his own team (Trent Richardson overtook him – see Auburn game for evidence where Ingram was benched down the stretch). In 2010, they shared the load, but Ingram was not nearly as dominant. His overall stats look good, but he struggled against the better teams on Alabama’s schedule. He’s certainly built like a feature back and has shown flashes of greatness, but I worry about his ability to hold up over the course of a season in the NFL. His running style generates a lot of wear and tear. The potential is certainly there, but I would have a hard time justifying spending a 1st-round pick on a guy like Ingram. He’s a solid 2nd-round option, but not someone I can confidently say will be an impact player over the next 5-7 years. I would feel more confident drafting him if my team already had a decent running back in place to split carries with Ingram.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2011 1 Comment

Some quick thoughts on Friday’s games

- Cam Newton secured himself the Heisman today, but he was exposed by Alabama’s defense. In the first half they forced him to throw and he struggled. There’s no denying his talent, but he has a lot of work to do before he’s ready to be an effective NFL quarterback. His fundamentals are solid when he takes the time to set his feet, but too often he rushes to get the pass off and it results in diminished accuracy. Passes that miss by a 6-12 inches don’t hurt him often in college, but they will at the next level. And if he’s struggling with Alabama’s defense, these issues will only be magnified in the NFL.

- I’ve soured on Mark Ingram. I think he’s the next Ron Dayne. He can be a very effective running back in the right role, but I don’t think he can carry the load. He simply doesn’t have the athleticism to make people miss and I don’t think he is as powerful as someone like Jamal Lewis, who made a living running people over. I could justify taking him in the 2nd round, but I think he would be a reach in the 1st.

LAS VEGAS - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick  of the Nevada Reno Wolf Pack runs for a touchdown against the UNLV Rebels in the first quarter of their game at Sam Boyd Stadium October 2, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nevada Reno won 44-26. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Colin Kaepernick may have a future at wide receiver

- Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick reminds me of Seneca Wallace. Physically, the differences are obvious (Kaepernick is about seven inches taller) but they play a very similar style of football. Both are elusive, but don’t have the bulk to be effective runners in the NFL – at least over the long haul. Like Wallace did in Seattle, Kaepernick may get a look at receiver, but I think he could develop into a decent backup – also like Wallace.

- Boise State WR Titus Young reminds me of Percy Harvin. He isn’t as fast as Harvin and isn’t as elusive, mostly because he’s slightly larger. But they can play similar roles in a NFL offense. He should be a 3rd or 4th-round selection, and could make an immediate contribution if he lands in the right system.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off