Borrowing the popular idea from the NFL Network, The Times-Picayune’s New Orleans Saintscoverage team came up with our ranking of the top 25 players on the Saints’ roster heading into the 2012 season. The idea is to make these rankings as current as possible – essentially deciding who would be the best players on the field if they lined up for a game today. Therefore, past accomplishments and potential are both factored in.
Obviously, that led to some tough decisions, and that will lead to plenty of second guessing. And we’d love to hear it. Feel free to vote on the rankings and add your comments below as we unveil the list daily leading up to the start of training camp.
No. 23 RB MARK INGRAM
Age 22. Year 2. Ht., wt: 5-9, 215.
SAINTS COLUMNIST MIKE TRIPLETT’S TAKE:
Like 24th-ranked teammate Cameron Jordan, Ingram was difficult to rank because we haven’t seen enough from him on the field yet. Ingram showed some great potential last season, though, flashing that “total package” combination of power, elusiveness, vision and speed that made him a Heisman Trophy winner at Alabama and a first-round draft choice.
Ingram started to find a groove around midseason before his rookie year was derailed by heel and toe injuries. He finished with 474 yards and five touchdowns in 10 games. And it’s easy to imagine him getting that “Year 2 boost” assuming he is fully healed from offseason toe and knee surgeries.
Ingram has the skill set to be an every-down back in the NFL, including the ability to pass protect. But the Saints don’t need him in that role for now, because they’re so deep at the position with Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Ingram and Chris Ivory. Last season, Ingram led the Saints in carries before the injuries, serving as a first- and second-down back and a short-yardage specialist. But that was partly because Thomas and Ivory were coming off injuries. Now, the roles may be reversed.
SAINTS RB PIERRE THOMAS’ TAKE:
“All-around smart guy. All-around good player. Pass pro(tection), running the ball, catching the ball. He’s a smart kid. And with his talent and his ability to pick up things very fast, he’s going to go far in this league. Just like all of us, we have to try to stay healthy. And he’s going get back on his feet, I have no doubt. But I see him as being one of the great running backs in this league as time goes on. He’s a very smart kid. He picked up our offense very fast, very quick. And he’s doing a great job. And I just see nothing but improvement in his future.”