While the draft stock of Marcell Dareus and Julio Jones has risen considerably in recent months, the same thing cannot be said of Mark Ingram. While he posted solid, though not spectacular, numbers at the NFL Combine and at the Alabama Pro Day, he has been somewhat of a question mark in recent weeks. And now, injury concerns are seemingly becoming a major issue. Per Pro Football Talk:
But there have been rumors that the long-term stability of Ingram’s knee is tenuous. And NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi reported something that may substantiate that speculation on Wednesday evening’s Path to the Draft.
"I’ve had two teams tell me the knee is very bad," said Lombardi. "He won’t be on their boards. These are teams that need running backs."
"I think it could cause him to slip (in the draft)," he said on March 31. Lombardi suggested that Ingram may have degenerative arthritis, a condition that has been linked to Da’Quan Bowers and will likely cause the Clemson defensive end to fall on draft weekend, as well.
As Maurice Clarett could tell you, you only need one team to love you as a player, even if the 31 teams won't come close to touching you, but admittedly this is some disconcerting news for Ingram. That's not to say he won't be drafted highly, of course, but this is a development that you do not want to see. Any time a team removes someone from their draft board who looks to be the best available player at a position of need, you should probably take a long look at the significance of the underlying concern. We know Ingram had the knee injury last year in fall camp, and admittedly he was probably never 100% after that. Whether or not that was a one-time injury or whether there is a degenerative condition afflicting his knee is up for debate, but for now it seems like reasonable NFL minds differ on that question.
For obvious reasons hopefully Ingram doesn't fall far, but this is probably one to keep your eye on moving forward. Given the fungible nature and typically brief careers of NFL tailbacks, most teams are probably going to be unwilling to take a tailback very high in the first place, and injury concerns could easily scare away the handful of teams looking to take the risk of paying an unproven player a huge sum of money. Hopefully it works out well for Ingram, but for now it seems like he may be waiting a while to hear his name called in New York.