Since the beginning of the offseason, when countless mock drafts around the net first began to pencil in Mark Ingram for the Dolphins’ selection with the 15th overall pick, I have been opposed to the idea. Like I’ve said all along, I just haven’t felt that Mark Ingram would give the Dolphins great value that high.
Most experts don’t consider him an elite running back prospect and there are plenty of mid-round options that would give the Dolphins considerably more bang for their buck. But the more and more I have looked at the situation, and the closer and closer we get to the Dolphins being on the clock in Bloguin’s inaugural mock draft (I will be selecting for the Dolphins on Friday), Ingram just seems like he may be the pick by default if the front office isn’t able to trade down.
Now, whether or not the Dolphins are able to trade down is a topic for another day, as I firmly believe that is their number one priority in the first-round. But if they can’t find a partner, Ingram would be the best player available that would fill a pressing need.
Maybe the Dolphins are convinced that they need to find a new potential franchise quarterback. Newton and Gabbert will be gone, though, so will they really be willing to reach for late first-round/second-round options like Mallett, Locker, or Ponder?
They could always go the route of addressing the interior offensive line. But only one offensive guard appears to be a fathomable candidate to be selected in the middle of the first, and that is Florida’s Mike Pouncey. I’m not opposed to the Dolphins drafting Pouncey in the first-round, but you have to wonder how the front office feels about a player whose stock is arguably significantly elevated by the success of a sibling.
Just when I begin to warm up to the idea of the Dolphins taking Ingram with the 15th overall pick in the event they aren’t able to trade down, outsiders, who were once so confident in Ingram to Miami, are starting to second guess themselves.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang wrote yesterday that “though sources throughout the league certainly recognize the Dolphins' need at running back, they'd be surprised if Miami took Ingram.” NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi reported last week that teams are starting to question the health of Ingram’s knee. Ingram had a knee scope prior to the 2010 season and, according to Lombardi, has an arthritic condition that could cause him to slip out of the first-round.
Who knows how this is affecting the Dolphins’ plans, but we do know they are considering options beyond Ingram. The Miami Herald is reporting that the team will privately work out mid-round prospects such as Mikel Leshoure, Daniel Thomas, Ryan Williams, Roy Helu, Bilal Powell, Steven Ridley, Mario Fanin, and Taiwan Jones.
Personally, I feel like the Dolphins may double up on running backs just like they did with defensive ends Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford in 2008 and with cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Sean Smith in 2009. In that scenario, a strong interest in mid-round prospects wouldn’t necessarily mean they are leaning towards not selecting Ingram, as they could be eyeing Ingram or Leshoure in the first and one of the mid-round backs in the third or fourth.
All of this just goes to show us, though, that the closer and closer we get to the draft, the less we actually know about what the Dolphins will do. I think it’s pretty clear that everyone would like to see the Dolphins trade down to the late first-round and pick up a second-round pick. But in the event that they are unable to, however, there is surely no clear cut right selection to make at 15.
They could always shock us like last year and select a player that is completely off of everybody’s radar. Maybe they forgo addressing their numerous needs on the offensive side of the ball and pick up a potentially elite pass rusher to compliment Cameron Wake. But with the options they figure to have that will address a pressing need, they can reach for a quarterback, reach for Mike Pouncey, or settle for less than ideal value with Mark Ingram. None of those options seem overly enticing at the moment. Hopefully, this scenario will be a moot point, and the Dolphins are able to trade down like last year. For the time being, though, we have a very interesting debate on our hands.