2011 NFL Draft: Where Does Mark Ingram Stand After Capital One Bowl?

Brandon GalvinFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2011

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 26:  Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide reacts after rushing for a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 26, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram, the 2009 Heisman winner, has the skills to compete in the NFL. This we already knew after last year’s Heisman campaign. He scored 17 touchdowns while rushing for 1,658 yards (6.1 yards per carry)

Ingram had a solid season following abrupt surgery to open the year.

In the Capital One Bowl game, Ingram saw limited work. He carried the rock 12 times for just 58 yards (4.8 yards per carry). He also scored two touchdowns on those 12 carries, one from one yard out and another from six yards out. He added one reception for 30 yards. All in all for Ingram, it wasn’t the most impressive performance, but at least he converted those two goal-line touchdowns.

Still, Ingram had a fantastic career with the Alabama Crimson Tide. In 39 career games, Ingram rushed 572 times for 3,233 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and 42 touchdowns.

Although he didn’t excel in the Capital One Bowl game, he did excel when it counted most for the Crimson Tide against Texas in the 2009 BCS National Championship. Ingram carried the load for the Tide, rushing 22 times for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

Two bowl games in two years averaging two touchdowns. Not too shabby.

As I look up and down the teams in April’s NFL Draft, the only team that truly makes the most sense for Ingram is the Miami Dolphins. He is the perfect fit for them. They are the perfect fit for him.

Ingram is a tough-nosed kid with good speed and very good power.

He is the definition of a workhorse running back, one that the Miami Dolphins have desperately yearned for since Ricky Williams’ abrupt retirement at his peak.

Ricky Williams is not expected to return to Miami next season. Miami would also be silly to re-sign Ronnie Brown, and has had injury issues throughout his career. Even if the Dolphins bring back Ronnie Brown, which is not ideal in my eyes, they cannot afford to entrust the workload on his bulky knees and injury history.

If Miami does foolishly pass on Ingram, the only other team in the first round that might just might draft him would be the Green Bay Packers. After Ryan Grant went down to a season-ending ankle injury in his 2010 debut against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Packers rushing attack has been terrible.

The Packers seem decently high on James Starks, but Mark Ingram would be the workhorse back the Packers have been searching for since the days of Ahman Green. Grant should not come back to Green Bay, as he is simply not that talented.

The Packers could do far better elsewhere, and his name is Mark Ingram.

The Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers are the two ideal teams for Mark Ingram to make an immediate impact on in his rookie season. Both teams could desperately use a workhorse talent like Ingram in 2011, as they would be smart to part ways with their current starting options.

No matter where he ends up in the NFL, Ingram has the talent to make as big an impact in the NFL as he did in college football.