NFL Rookie Watch: Mark Ingram
Entering the 2011 NFL Draft, many compared the University of Alabama's Mark Ingram to Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith for his toughness and compact running style. Like Smith, Ingram fell to the bottom half of Round 1, landing at No. 28 to New Orleans. The Saints gave New England their second round choice and next year's first to acquire the pick -- a sign New Orleans was anxious to land the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner.
The 5-foot-9, 215-pound back ripped up the SEC the past two seasons and seemed a lock to be the first running back selected, even after posting disappointing numbers at the combine in February (4.62 seconds in the 40-yard dash and the lowest 20-yard shuttle score among all back prospects).
In recent weeks Ingram has been working out with his new teammates. He's made at least one believer so far: "He looks great. There's no doubt he's been working and he's in shape," Drew Brees told a reporter. "He can play a pretty significant role on our offense."
Most thought Best would become an instant star in Detroit's growing offense, but his development has been slow. A turf toe injury limited his production last season, and after scoring five touchdowns in the first two weeks he scored just one the rest of the way.
Ingram makes sense as a No. 3 back in traditional leagues; those expecting more are expecting too much.
Mike Beacom is a contributing writer for