The Saints' trade to get the 28th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft to select running back Mark Ingram looks bad for a couple reasons. First, Ingram has been shockingly ineffective. Second, the Saints already had a back in Ingram's mold who has shown to be everything Ingram is not.
Chris Ivory's 56-yard run against the Falcons is better than anything Ingram has done in one-and-a-half NFL seasons. He showed a great power-speed combination as he got into the open field, made some moves to get free along the sideline, then finished off the run with an impressive, vicious stiff-arm to cornerback Dunta Robinson.
But, politics in the NFL exist. The Saints had too much invested in Ingram to sit him on the bench. So while Ingram had 176 carries since the start of last year, with a pedestrian 3.7-yard average, Ivory had just 89. Ivory needed an injury to Darren Sproles to even get active on game days. Last week Ivory had 48 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries in his first action of the season, a reminder of how good he can be. His 56-yard run this week was 21 yards longer than Ingram's career best.
Ivory rushed for 716 yards and five touchdowns in 2010 in just 12 games (four starts), the year before the Saints picked Ingram. Ingram had 652 yards and six touchdowns in a season and a half coming into this week. New Orleans has compounded its mistake on draft day by playing the lesser player with the better draft status. That might change over the second half of the season as the Saints are reminded Ivory is the better player, despite being from Tiffin University instead of Alabama, going undrafted instead of being a first-round pick and not having a Heisman Trophy like Ingram does.
That Ingram pick by New Orleans probably could have been used on something more valuable, like a defensive player to help that awful unit. Those kinds of mistakes add up.
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