We remember the draft night like it was yesterday. Three years ago, the New Orleans Saints tabbed Mark Ingram to be their star running back, their next Heisman Trophy winner in their stable and the man who would help a running back that needed an injection of life.
Since he has been a professional football player, Ingram has been anything but exciting. While he has been lackluster at best, this could be the season we finally see what the former Alabama All-American can do on the field.
At least he had better show what he can do. This is a crucial year for the running back. If training camp is any indication, then Ingram will exceed expectations of him the past two season. His workload with the first team has increased of the past few weeks (this according to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com and it would appear the trade of Chris Ivory to the Jets has opened the door to more playing time, not only for Ingram, but Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles.
The Saints are coming off a horrendous season, failing to make the playoffs, having their coach lost for the season due to “Bounty Gate” and are still waiting on their return from a player who was a man amongst boys in college and a boy amongst men in the NFL.
Now, it is time to even things out.
As the son of former New York Giants and Miami Dolphins receiver, Mark Ingram, Sr., he needs to prove he belongs in this league before someone takes his spot. If it is any consolation, George Rogers won a Heisman Trophy while at South Carolina, was drafted by the Saints and took a few years to get rolling. Unfortunately, hsi best years were in Washington with the Redskins, not in the Big Easy.
The Saints need Ingram to perform now, come out of the cocoon he is in and perform. And for those reasons alone, make this year one where Ingram breaks out - or the future could hurt both the running back and the Saints.