In the days leading up to the NFL draft, ESPNBoston.com will identify players who project as solid fits for the Patriots:
Player: Mark Ingram
Position: Running back
Listed height/weight: 5-foot-9 1/8, 215 pounds
Scouts Inc. rank: 1st (scouting report)
Draft projection: First round
Why he’s on our list: The Patriots have BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead atop the depth chart, and have some question marks after that. It makes sense to think the Patriots will address the position in the draft.
Key stat: Rushed for 42 touchdowns in three seasons (2008-2010).
Workout stat: Timed at 4.62 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine.
Steve Muench of Scouts Inc.: "Ingram's hard-nosed running style is the first thing that jumps out when you throw on the film. He keeps his pads down, churns his legs, and rarely goes down on first contact. At 5-foot-9, he has a low center of gravity and excellent balance, which allows him to bounce off would-be arm tackles. His vision and instincts are also impressive. He makes the most of his blocks and anticipates cutback lanes. All in all, he doesn't leave many yards on the field. While he doesn't have the top-end speed to run away from NFL defenses, he's quicker than fast, so he can get around the corner. He also catches the ball and pass blocks well enough to contribute on third down, though he has room to improve in this area. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is admittedly coming off a strong 2010 but has yet to show that he can do it year-in and year-out, and competition almost always brings out the best in players. Drafting Ingram would provide that competition and much needed depth at the position. Ingram could still be on the board at pick 28 and he is an excellent value in that slot."