Mayock: Ingram could slide out of first

NEW YORK –- In the days leading up to the 2011 NFL Draft, much of what prognosticators see playing out is a matter of educated guessing. But some names continue to emerge as players who could slide in the first round Thursday night — a topic that was discussed among NFL Network’s analysts during their Tuesday production meeting.

We’ve already witnessed the gradual slide of Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, once in the conversation as the potential first overall pick, due to questions surrounding his surgically repaired knee. Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn is under a microscope from teams that think his Erb’s palsy will limit production. Then, there is the curious case of former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, who faces the growing trend in NFL think tanks that running backs aren’t a good value with high first-round picks when comparable talent can be found later, often much later.

“Ingram could slide into the second round,” says NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. “If for nothing else, based on the position he plays being devalued.”

No one the room raised any disagreement that Ingram is a candidate to slide. It was opined by analyst Charles Davis that the ideal situation for Ingram -– though not financially beneficial -– would be to slide to a winning team near the bottom of the first round, where teams such as New England (No. 28), the New York Jets (30), Pittsburgh (31) and Green Bay (32) reside.

Regardless of a potential slide, Hall of Fame running back Marshall Faulk holds a solid opinion of Ingram.

“I really like him,” Faulk said. “Other than the stuff you hear about the knee, he’s a very solid player. He can run inside the tackles. We didn’t see him catch the ball at Alabama a lot, but I was impressed at how well he caught it at the Scouting Combine. I don’t think he’s a liability. But with the two-back system in this league, the value of a mid-first round pick on a back (is far less).”

–Frank Tadych

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