Hello fellow Dolphins fans! I've been an avid reader of this site for several years, but I haven't done much commenting or any posting.
I've thought long and hard about how to put together an argument against drafting Mark Ingram (or any other RB) at #15 in the 1st. Even if he is a certified, sure-fire, productive NFL running back... I'm still not sold. Like most of you reading this, I would prefer to see the Phins trade back to the late 1st (or early 2nd) and pick up a late 2nd (or early 3rd).
For the sake of argument, let's assume we can't trade back. Here's my sales pitch to avoid an RB at #15. I have two main points to make:
1. The running back position is inherently injury prone
I think we can all agree on this. Running backs absorb hits every time they touch the ball and nearly every play that hey are in the game. They are the target of 250 lb LB's who can run nearly 20 mph. There are also fewer rules to protect them than certain other skill positions (ahem, Tom 'Copacabana' Brady.)
What I'm trying to say is: Mark Ingram may be a guaranteed non-bust... but wasn't Ronnie Brown? Out of 96 possible games in his 6 year pro-career, Ronnie Brown has played in 76. That's equivalent to missing over 1 full season. He's only healthy 79% of the time... and during the time he is 'healthy', he's not 100% because of his past injuries.
I know they are not the same person. I know injuries can happen to anyone in the NFL. I also acknowledge that RB's absorb more high-impact shots than any other position. In my opinion, this fact alone should drop the draft stock of all running backs. They are also, generally, easily replaceable and easy to find young talent. Who led all rookies in rushing yards in 2010... If you guessed undrafted free agent LeGarrette Blount, then you guessed right.
Do you want to pay top dollar for the show-room model when your neighbor down the block is selling his for half price? Especially when you know that no matter which one you buy, the repair costs are going to be high.
2. Superbowl Champions don't show a history of drafting Running Backs in the early 1st round
Although a skill position, RB is similar to Safety in that unless you have an ultra-elite one or a terrible one, you won't notice that much difference between the middle-of-the-pack guys. They just don't have the value of, say, a QB, OLB, NT, LT or Cornerback. Unless they are ultra-elite (A. Peterson and CJ-2009 come to mind).
I'll try to back this up with some statistics. My theory is that Superbowl Champions become champions because they make wise decisions in the draft. Here's a list of the last 10 SB Champs, their leading rusher and how he was acquired,
- Green Bay - James Starks (in the Post-Season) - 6th round
- New Orleans - Pierre Thomas - Undrafted
- Pitt - Willie Parker - Undrafted
- NY Giants - Brandon Jacobs - 4th round
- Indy - Joseph Addai - 1st round (pick # 30)
- Pitt - Willie Parker - Undrafted
- NE - Corey Dillon - 2nd round
- NE - Antowain Smith - Free Agent, Kevin Faulk - 2nd round
- TB Bucs - Michael Pittman - Free Agent (former 4th round)
- NE - Antowain Smith - Free Agent (former 1st round #23)
Only 1 of 10 was a first round pick by the team that they won the superbowl with. And even Addai was the #30 overall pick. Why not go after a proven Free Agent this offseason instead of spending our top pick on a guy who seems to be just a step-above "solid starter"? I just don't think Ingram is that much better than LeShoure who will probably go at least 10 - 15 picks after him.
Congratulations if you made it this far! Thanks for reading. If you're a hard-core Ingram booster, I may not have convinced you... but hopefully I gave you something to think about.