Is Mark Ingram a ‘special’ back?

We have Alabama’s pro day on Wednesday to thank for an abundance of analysis and opinions on RB Mark Ingram.

There’s no shortage of analysts who believe Ingram is a very good player, and I’ll echo the thoughts of “Path to the Draft” host Paul Burmeister that I have yet to see a mock draft where Ingram isn’t a first-round pick. He’s the top-rated back by analyst Mike Mayock (which should be good enough for all of us), who is not at all concerned with his 40 times.

But here’s an interesting discussion: Is Ingram a “special” player?

Former NFL GM Charley Casserly says Ingram has “excellent vision” but doesn’t possess outside speed or the ability to make defenders miss on the second level. Casserly sees Ingram as a late first-round pick.

“I don’t think he’s a special back,” said Casserly. “When you go to play him, I don’t think you game-plan against him and he’s special, meaning you bring an eighth defender down in the box to stop him.”

Casserly wasn’t alone in his assessment.

“Is he special enough to hand it to 20-25 times per game? I think the jury would be out on that one,” said Charles Davis. “And I tend to doubt it.”

Both of our mock drafters — Davis and Pat Kirwan — have Ingram going to the Dolphins at No. 15.

“I think the grade that teams put on him will determine whether you take him in the first round,” said Michael Lombardi. “Ingram is a talented player. However, there are going to be other talented players who will be graded higher at certain positions that will make Ingram slip in the draft. … When you’re drafting in the first round,  you want special.”

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