Yes I understand, that was then and this is now. He's a bust. But what did Payton see in Ingram? It's right here. Published in March, 2011 before the draft. It's in excerpt, but I didn't cherrypick very much. No real criticisms. So what went wrong? He got drafted by Sean Payton.
Copyright © 2011 by Matt Waldman
Power: The Best: Mark Ingram, Delone Carter and Bilal Powell are the most consistent with their pad level, second effort, and tendency to attack the defense to finish runs. All three players have the strength and technique to push a pile, drag a defender, and run through the grasp of defenders. Moreover, they relish delivering the first blow.
Balance: The Best: Mark Ingram is built like a tank and much like Michael Turner, defenders bounce off the Crimson Tide runner when they hit him anywhere between the knees to the shoulders. His strong core and the alignment of his running style make it difficult to take Ingram off his feet - even when a defender hits the runner from an indirect angle. Ryan Williams, Noel Devine and Taiwan Jones have the great footwork and low center of gravity to work in tight spaces where they can prevent defenders from getting direct shots. As a result, they can change directions and spin off hits in succession while still moving downfield.
Ball Handling: The Best: In the three games I watched of Bilal Powell's season year, Powell carried the ball under the correct arm on every attempt. He also carried the ball high and tight to his chest. This is something Powell attributes to the coaching of Charlie Strong and an improvement to his less controlled security habits as an underclassman. Mark Ingram had one fumble throughout his career as a workhorse in the SEC.
Acceleration: The Best: Mark Ingram, Ryan Williams and Taiwan Jones explode from their change of direction and they can juke, spin, or make a sharp lateral cut and get to top speed quickly enough to get through a crease and into the third level with little contact.
Vision: The Best: Mark Ingram is in a class by himself. He'll make moves on one defender in a way that gives him a chance to set up a defender at the next level. He's mature with his decisions, but he also makes strong pre-snap reads to find cutback opportunities. Ryan Williams, Bilal Powell and Mikel Leshoure aren't as consistently mature with opting for the smaller, safer play over an inviting, high-risk cutback, but they possess the savvy to take a defense's success against one play call earlier in a game and make an adjustment to turn that tendency against the defender for their benefit when the offense runs that
play again. DeMarco Murray has excellent maturity and he might be close to Ingram's level of savvy after beginning his career with the mindset that he could outrun anyone in any situation.
On Field IQ: Mark Ingram: I've watched Ingram abandon his blitz pickup to aid a teammate who got beaten on his assignment. Ingram knew in a split-second that if he stuck to his assignment his quarterback would get sacked. Ingram also shows strong spatial awareness near the sideline to stay inbounds and work his away forward in traffic. He has a knack for doing that one extra thing to make a play successful and I believe he has a great chance to become a special player in the NFL.
These runners possess a level of skill as pass protectors and/or receivers that should get them a chance to contribute early in at least a limited role.
Brandon Sane Johnny White Derrick Locke Kendall Hunter DeMarco Murray Bilal Powell
Mark Ingram Ryan Williams
Short Yardage Skills
The following backs have a skill as short yardage runners and could earn time as situational backs early in their career.
Brandon Saine Jamie Harper Mark Ingram Delone Carter Johnny White Mikel Leshoure
The Top 40 Running back Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
1. Mark Ingram, Alabama (5-9, 215)
Ingram is one of the smartest runners I've seen. He makes great reads, presses the hole, and he has the rare
ability to set up defenders a step ahead of the game. These are the skills that not only made Emmitt Smith,
Ladainian Tomlinson, and Edgerrin James stars, but it also gave them longevity and productivity as their
physical gifts declined. Ingram has an explosive burst and he accelerates from his cuts, which combined with his
patience makes him a dangerous player. However, Ingram's grind-it-out power and terrific balance is a dimension
of his game that will make him a back that an offense can ride to preserve a lead. His pass protection techniques
are good enough that with additional study he'll become a back that only leaves the field when he needs a break.
A quality about Ingram that's evident on film that isn't a technique is Ingram's passion and killer instinct. I believe
he's going to be the player who consistently makes the big plays that make a difference in a game. In this
respect, he also reminds me of Frank Gore - another back with great vision, power, balance, and strong
acceleration. Even if the team that drafts Ingram lacks the components to make him the next Emmitt Smith, he has
the least downside of any back I've seen in six years.