Before you start bashing me, let me start off with that I don't believe we should use the 9th overall pick on Mark Ingram. The NFL is a different league now, its become a passing league setup by a multiple running back by committee theory. But there are the exceptions to those committees and the elite running backs of the NFL are mostly a one man show. Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones Drew, Chris Johnson, Michael Turner and Rashard Mendenhall all run the show by themselves for their respected teams. Then you have Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice, Ahmad Bradshaw and Felix Jones who are running backs that share the load.
Since the New York Giants won a Super Bowl with a three back committee in 2007, more and more teams are implementing that formula instead of having one running back that ties up a big salary. The Cowboys had what we all thought was the next big thing, Smash Dash and Tash, that was supposed to be our Earth Wind and Fire. Marion Barber fizzled out, Felix had a rash of injuries, Choice never got the carries he deserved. I think Felix Jones is a big play player, his speed and acceleration are top notch. I see a lot of Emmitt Smith in Tashard Choice, but for some reason this team holds him back. Marion Barber should receive a pink slip this off-season, because after his 48 million dollar contract he was injured and slow. He lost his burst that great running backs possess.
So your wondering what this has to do with Mark Ingram right? It has everything to do with him and more. Put the game tape on and tell me with a straight face he doesn't look like Emmitt Smith. He even has the patented stiff arm down to a science. Ingram is in a class by himself this draft at running back, even though it's a deep running back class. I personally love Mikel Leshoure from Illinois who reminds me of former Illinois and potential Cowboys draft pick Rashard Mendenhall. The Cowboys passed on Mendenhall for Felix Jones with the 22nd pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, and at the time it was the right decision. We had a budding star in Marion Barber and he had the similar running style to Mendenhall, it just wasn't a good fit for us at the time. Felix Jones was the perfect fit because of his athleticism and ability to be more of a scat back with the big play speed. Felix deserves a chance to carry the load in the backfield, in my opinion not many players have the skill set that Felix has.
Mark Ingram is a special talent, and Jerry Jones is known for taking his "shiny toys" in the draft. To be honest, since the 2008 draft Jerry has only selected one shiny toy and that was Dez Bryant. Anyone who disputes selecting Dez Bryant in my opinion is a moron. He has the talent to be a Andre Johnson type wide receiver. Dez is a special talent and heck I could write a whole fan post on why, so lets get back to the subject. Even in 2007, Jerry was withheld from taking a shiny toy. Dallas traded out of the first round and used the future first round pick on Felix Jones in 2008. We did trade back into the first round in 2007 for Anthony Spencer, but I think that was a classic Wade Phillips draft pick. So when you sit down and look at the recent drafts, Jerry hasn't really gotten his way, especially with his shiny toy selections.
Now Jerry has publicly come out and urged that Jason Garrett has final say on any player and coach on this team. When you hear Jerry talk like that, sometimes its hard to believe him. We all want to believe him, because as much as I love Jerry Jones the owner, I cant say I am too much of a fan of the general manger Jerry Jones lately. Yes, Jerry has done a lot of good for us, I cant dispute that. But he has also done a lot of bad over the years and he has redeemed himself with Dez Bryant, Sean Lee and other investments and signings.
Where I have a serious problem with Jerry was letting Chris Canty go, I hated that decision because Canty was the disruptive defensive end we are still searching for. The trade for Roy Williams was awful, and at the time I understood the move. Jerry wanted a replacement for Terrell Owens, Jerry's biggest shiny toy acquisition of all time. Roy Williams cost us a lot, a first round pick. That draft we could of selected Percy Harvin, Clay Matthews or Michael Oher. Instead we have a 30 catch a year goofball at wide receiver. Jerry's other big disaster was the whole entire 2009 NFL Draft, with 12 picks he turned it into the worst draft class ever assembled in the modern draft era. Victor Butler and John Phillips are going to be great players, we definitely hit on them. But when you bust on every other single goddamn pick, I have serious problems with that.
Jerry has done a lot of wrong, and in my opinion those are the three worst decisions he has made recently. But let me point out, he has done some good. Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Martellus Bennett, Tashard Choice and Orlando Scandrick still looks like a promising draft class. Yes some have underachieved, but for the most part all of those players have shown they can play at a high level in the NFL. The Anthony Spencer and Doug Free selections were great, and Spencer has been inconsistent but has flashed some big play ability. We have our future left tackle in Doug Free, so we hit there. Jerry was also the big player in selecting DeMarcus Ware, a player the great Bill Parcells wanted to pass on for Marcus Spears, a player we got with our second first round pick in 2005. Then Jerry goes out and moves up for my favorite player, Dez Bryant. He also trades up in the second round for Sean Lee, a first round graded linebacker. We got Akwasi Owusu Ansah, a extremely talented safety in the fourth round. Jerry has done some good things, so lets not bash him entirely.
So now we are full circle to 2011. April is vastly approaching and we have a lot of options with the 9th overall selection in the draft. I have featured all the options we can go with the 9th overall pick, but the one option I have saved for last is Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram. When I put on some highlight reels and game tape last night, I was brought back to my glory days as a kid, the 90's Cowboys. Watching Ingram run eerily reminded me of the great Emmitt Smith. When Ingram participates in the combine next week, I doubt he has the eye popping numbers that a lot of big time players put up, but the kid just gets it done. Just for comparison, I believe Emmitt Smith ran like a 4.7 in the 40 yard dash. But if you watched him play football for Florida, he was just amazing. He had this ability to make people miss, and I still don't know how he did it. He also had this second gear, once he turned it on he was gone. When I watch Mark Ingram, I see all the same things and its actually pretty scary. I actually forgot how good Mark Ingram really was, watching him I see Emmitt Smith and I see Mark Ingram just get it done out there on the football field.
Barry Sanders had his trademark spin move, but Emmitt had his trademark stiff arm. Mark Ingram uses the same stiff arm almost the same way Emmitt did. Then your watching Ingram run just like Emmitt, and then it hits you, Ingram is wearing #22. I don't know if any of you believe in destiny, but sometimes things are just meant to be, sometimes it is written. "It is written", one of my favorite quotes all time from a movie I love and that quote still shakes me to this day. Sometimes things are meant to be, there is no changing the outcome of the event because the outcome has already been decided. I think it might be fate that Ingram will be a Cowboy. The lack of a true cut number one offensive lineman, the one year we actually pick in the top ten and nobody is there for us is one reason it could be fate, maybe I am crazy I don't know. The one year we pick in the top ten there also is no Eric Berry or Earl Thomas type safety available. After winning the Eagles game on the last day of the regular season we dropped down, what four spots? So we would miss out on Patrick Peterson and Nick Fairley. When you think about it, all the events leading up to this draft are in Mark Ingram's favor to end up in Dallas.
Jerry has made this clear, he wants impact players in the draft. He said recently he wants a great football player 9th overall and wants a impact right away. Now I would draft Tyron Smith or a cornerback with the 9th overall pick, I would prefer to get Tyron Smith because I feel he is the next D'Brickashaw Ferguson, a All Pro left tackle. As we all know Jerry hasn't been known to pony up for a offensive lineman. I can't even tell you the last time we selected a offensive lineman in the first round. I honestly don't even think its happened since the 80's when I was a little kid. When you think about it, Mark Ingram just looks a classic Jerry Jones pick. Jerry loves players that are big time highlight reels and I understand where he is coming from. If we didn't need a premier RT and the hole wasn't so big there I would totally understand taking Ingram. If Terence Newman wasn't 33 years old, I would understand taking Ingram 9th overall. If we had a lockdown corner we wouldn't have to be looking at a cornerback. Also we have a major hole at free safety, but nobody is worthy of a high first round pick.
At the end of the day, Jerry wants great football players and honestly I cannot blame him for that. Sitting in the war room on draft night, I will not lie to you guys, I would really consider taking Mark Ingram. Even though you can find quality running backs throughout the draft, there is just something unique and special about this kid. Besides being a great football player he is a great kid. His personality is absolutely what you want on this team. He loves the game of football and has fun doing what he loves. Playing in the NFL has been a dream of his since he could walk. His father was a wide receiver for the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, so Mark looked up to his dad playing football. Like father like son you know how that is. Ingram hasn't had a easy life either. His dad is serving a prison sentence and has been in and out of trouble ever since he left the NFL.
I remember watching Mark Ingram accept his Heisman Trophy, and that was one of the more touching acceptance speeches I have ever seen. Filled with tears, a humble young man dedicated the award to his father who couldn't be there to see him on the stage. Mark never got the opportunity to have his father attend his college games. I can only feel for this young man, it has to be a difficult situation on and off the field. Mark Ingram is a great young man, a very humbled individual with great manners. I would love to have this kid on my team.
Even after the holes at right tackle and cornerback, Jerry could ignore that on draft night. What I am trying to do is prepare you for the Mark Ingram selection. Please, be mad Jerry didn't get you that offensive lineman we need or the cornerback we need, but do not bash Mark Ingram. Even though we would ignore our needs, Ingram could be one of the best football players in the entire draft. The last few years, Ingram would easily be the best running back in his class and he is this year. I love Leshoure, he is a beast, but he lacks some of the things Ingram has and I don't think its something you can be taught. Ingram just has "it", I am sorry to use that phrase but the kid is just special and gets it done out there.
I think people underestimate how good Mark Ingram really is. He does everything good as a running back and I cannot find too many flaws in his game. He is a true workhorse and a running back you can just continually feed over and over again, and take control of the game. Winning the time battle is important, you have the ball and have long drives it does a couple of things. For one, it keeps your defense off the field and fresh. It keeps the opposing teams defense on the field and wears them out. It also allows you to setup the pass, a good run game can do a lot of good for your football team. I cannot remember the last time we had a dominant run game, it has been a while. With a good run game it allows you to open up the playbook and with a Pro Bowl tight end and two superstar wide receivers, you can really get creative.
I urge you to take a closer look at Mark Ingram, read over his scouting report and take a look at some you tube footage. He truly is a special player and I want you to be prepared for his arrival if it does happen. I know we will be mad at Jerry, but I cannot blast him for this pick. I just cannot blast a man wanting great football players, I just cannot do it guys. I would be mad, but I wouldn't get pissed off about it. Mark Ingram is truly a great player and at the end of the day you want the greatest players you can get. Great players carry teams, great players win Super Bowls. Great players like Mark Ingram carry their teams, players like Ingram put their teams on their backs and get it done.
With the addition of Mark Ingram, this offense would be set for a long time. Tony Romo, Mark Ingram, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten. Seriously when you really think about that lineup, it might be the most talented offense in football all around. We could have five Pro Bowlers on the offense. I believe even if we took Ingram, Jerry would not ignore OL. Jerry would find a way to fix it, either in free agency and making some moves in the draft. If we could even add some decent offensive lineman and had a slightly better unit than last year, I think we could be good enough to win a lot of games. The Steelers and Packers didn't exactly have the best offensive lines in football.
So where does this leave Felix Jones and Tashard Choice? Felix Jones in my opinion is a great player with tremendous skills. He could either lead the rushing attack, or be used like Jamaal Charles or Ray Rice. With Ingram as the lead back, we would finally have the running back that can get into the end zone because Ingram is money down there. Felix could be used exactly like Jamaal Charles and Ray Rice. Felix could be used all over the field to take advantage of his explosive speed and acceleration. Felix and Ingram would become the most dangerous running back duos in the NFL instantly.
Tashard Choice would most likely be the odd man out. I hate to say that because I think he could be a great player, its just that Ingram could be all time great. The Cowboys could either trade Choice or hold onto him for the 2011 season. Choice is a free agent after the 2011 season and if we took Ingram there would be no way Choice would stay. Honestly there is a good chance Choice leaves anyway after the season no matter what, keep that in mind as well.
I really don't have to even review his scouting report because Ingram speaks for himself. The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, ultra productive in the SEC, starting running back for Alabama, touchdown machine, big play machine, highlight reel machine, speed, acceleration, can make people miss, stiff arm, powerful, strong, durable, amazing vision, balance, amazing burst, ball security the dude does not fumble, high character and a leader. I could go on all night about how good Mark Ingram is. He is easily one of the best running backs to come out in a long time.
You know what this situation reminds me of? The Minnesota Vikings held the 7th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Adrian Peterson was passed on by six teams, and sat there waiting to be selected. The best player in college football, being passed on left and right by teams. Then the Vikings went on the clock, and they didn't have the need for a running back. They had just went out and spent money on a good running back in Chester Taylor. The Vikings took Peterson and never looked back in regret as Peterson went on to have an amazing rookie season. Peterson went on to set the all time rushing record in a single game his rookie season, he was the walking human joystick and highlight reel. Now Peterson was a better athlete than Ingram, but Ingram is no slouch man. I bet Ingram has some real good measurables himself. This kid isn't a scrub, he is a stud.
So what I am trying to get across is that Mark Ingram does actually make sense for us. Now I would select Tyron Smith because we need a RT and I think he can be a Pro Bowl offensive lineman. But Ingram is the perfect Jerry Jones pick and I just want you to be prepared for the shiny toy pick. There is a lot of evidence to support this. Jerry has publicly said he will not be handcuffed to need, and I don't blame him. He has also publicly stated he wants a impact player at 9th overall. To me it seems like Jerry is secretly in love with Ingram. When he saw Dez, he saw Cowboy great Michael Irvin. When Jerry sees Ingram, he sees Cowboy great Emmitt Smith. Actually back in the day, Irvin was selected first. Then the other year they selected Emmitt Smith in the first round. Two draft picks, two of the best to ever play their positions.
Could Dez and Ingram be the selections that put the franchise into dynasty status? Like Irvin and Smith were drafted? It could happen, so be prepared. And maybe, just maybe you will love getting a great football player. I know I will be ordering my authentic #22 Ingram jersey that night, because I am a Cowboys fan and I want greatness, even if it goes against what I wanted to do in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Chia's NFL Comparison: Maurice Jones Drew and Emmitt Smith
Mark Ingram(#22)- Official 2009 Heisman Highlights (via MeeguelProductions)