40: 4.62, 4.45e
Explosive in and out of his cuts because he has very quick feet and good balance. Has good vision to find the cutback lanes on the second level, able to set up defenders. Has a good nose for the endzone and finds daylight. Hits the hole hard and runs with excellent pad level in tight spaces. Shows the spin move to bounce plays outside and decent lateral burst. Does an excellent job after contact, bouncing off hits, powering through defenders, and hard to trip up because of his balance. Will hurdle fallen defenders with ease. Keeps his feet moving after contact and has a good stiff arm. Has good hands, adjusting to high throw, and can be a dangerous runner on screens and in the flat because of his explosive first step. Shows ability to square up defender in pass protection and does a nice job hitting his assignments there.
Doesn't always do a good job securing the ball when he's out in space. Chops his feet a bit, stopping them at times which can hurt him laterally. Needs to polish up his blocking technique in pass protection.
Ingram is an elite running back prospect that grades out about as good as any runner in most categories. There are really no major weaknesses to his game, although his ball security could be better, and he can do better refining his footwork and improving in pass protection. But these are all teachable flaws that can be worked out very quickly in his NFL career. Impacted quickly as a true freshman, splitting reps with Glen Coffee and finished with 728 rushing yards on 143 carries (5.1 avg) and 12 scores with 7 receptions. Became the lead back as a sophomore, carrying 271 times in 14 games for 1658 yards (6.1 avg), 17 touchdowns, and 32 receptions. Had surgery on his knee and missed the first two games of this past year, and wound up splitting carries with Trent Richardson. Finished with 158 carries for 875 yards (5.5 avg), 13 touchdowns, and 21 receptions in 11 games. His father is former NFL receiver Mark Ingram, who played in the pros from 1987-96, most of which came with the New York Giants.
Like with other elite running backs, the main concern with Ingram in how he projects to the pros is durability. He showed some chinks in the armor this past year with the knee injury and a lighter workload than he had a year ago. He definitely has the potential to be a 25-30 back at the next level, but the obvious question is how long he can hold up with that workload. He's compared to Emmitt Smith, and because Smith's prime was when I was still pretty young, I had to go back and watch some highlights to make sure. And it's a very apt comparison, they have almost identical size, very similar power, balance, and vision. If Ingram can stay healthy, he'll be a productive NFL running back, capable of being one of the elite runners in the league, able to give any NFL team a potent rushing attack. Obviously, the less work you have to give him the better he can be, but he's not a guy that needs to be spelled. He has a lot of potential in the passing game because he's a solid receiver, and shows a relatively low learning curve in pass protection. Enough that he should be competent in that realm right away. Ingram is the type of runner that can be a 2,000 yard all-purpose back able to rush for 1,500+ yards, catch 50+ receptions, as well as being a beast in the redzone with 15-20 touchdowns in his best years.
Ingram is the ideal back to fit in the Mularkey-based scheme because he has the size, strength, and potential to be a guy that can carry the ball 25-30 times per game and be a force between the tackles. Whether he can hold up for that workload for a 16 games for multiple years would remain to be seen. As a rookie in Atlanta, he'd only get limited work, but is one of the few backs that is talented enough to spell Turner on a regular basis and get 10-15 carries per game potentially. His talent is such that it would be hard for the Falcons to justify keeping Turner after this year, and not turn over the keys to the offense to Ingram. But he has the ability to be that single rusher that shines in the Mularkey-based offense because he is an every down player that is actually a weapon in the passing game unlike Turner. He'd also be more versatile on the ground because he would allow the team vary their sets with less emphasis on a tight end and/or fullback because of his ability to find holes and hit them much more quickly than Turner. He's an upgrade in every way.
Ingram is one of the five best prospects in this draft, but because durability is always an unknown with runners at the next level, he might get drafted that high. But he's definitely worth a pick in the Top 10-15 picks for a team looking for a runner.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.