Is 2014 the year former Alabama running back and Heisman winner Mark Ingram finally lives up to the hype? Ingram was the first running back selected in the 2011 NFL draft. The New Orleans Saints traded up to snag him with the 28th pick.
Ingram has failed to make the impact everyone expected him to make in his first three seasons in the NFL. He has accumulated only 1,462 rushing yards in his first three seasons with the Saints. To put in perspective, elite running backs such as Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy have surpassed those numbers in one single season.
Also, the former Heisman winner has only averaged a pedestrian 4.0 yards per rush and 11 rushing touchdowns in his young NFL career. Although those numbers are not necessarily awful, they are not up to expectations for the Saints who gave up so much (2011 second round pick, and a 2012 first round pick) to get him.
There is no doubt that the New Orleans Saints are a pass first offense as their team lives and dies off of Drew Brees and his right arm. There also has been a lot of depth at running back for the Saints the past few years. These factors could have played a role in the lack of production we saw from Ingram thus far in his young career. I’m just surprised the shear talent and power of Mark Ingram hasn’t lead to him receiving more touches.
Currently, Ingram is listed as the starting running back for the New Orleans Saints on their unofficial depth chart. With the departure of Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas looking like a shell of himself, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ingram gets a substantial increase in carries this season.
It’s make or break time for Mark Ingram. If he has yet another mediocre season, he may receive the infamous “bust” label and join the long list of former Heisman winners that have been total let-downs in the NFL.
He is off to a good start thus far in the preseason. Even though week 2 of the preseason has just concluded, Mark Ingram’s 83 rushing yards on only 8 carries ranks third in the league. Hopefully for Ingram this is a good sign for things to come.
If Ingram has a breakout season, the Saints could be a real Super Bowl contender. If he falls flat on his face, Ehhh they still may be alright.