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March 2, 2011

Combine Chatter: Mark Ingram

Former Alabama running back Mark Ingram worked out at the NFL Combine on Sunday. TideSports was on hand in Indianapolis to talk with Ingram and see what the analysts had to say about his draft position.

40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
*1.53 seconds in 10-yard split (fastest among all RBs)
Vertical jump: 31 1/5 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 10 inches
Bench press (225 pounds): 21 reps

Draft projection: Middle of the first round
TSS prediction: No. 15 to MIA
NFL comparison: former NFL RB Emmitt Smith

What the experts are saying:
"I love Mark Ingram. I think he's a great football player. He's not going to run well here probably, but I really don't care what he runs in the 40. He's so quick laterally, great instincts and he just creates so many yards after contact. If he can stay healthy, which you can about any back in the NFL, but if he can stay healthy, I think he's going to surprise a lot of people."
-Todd McShay, ESPN draft expert

"He's easily the best back. He's a top 15 pick. He'll be a starter for years to come. He's a great kid, versatile. He catches the ball better than people think. I think the comparisons to Emmitt Smith are great because his running style is built low to the ground. He stops and starts like Emmitt Smith, good vision, sets up his blocks extremely well, which is a very underrated facet of his game. I love him. I think he's going to be great for years."
-Adam Caplan, FOXSports.com NFL reporter/insider

"It's hard to compare anybody to Emmitt Smith. That's always a difficult one. I think Mark Ingram is kind of a unique player. He's more of a power back that's not as big as those power backs. Every back has his own unique style. His balance is incredible, and he always gets yards after contact, which makes him a very effective player in the league."
-Michael Lombardi, NFL Network insider

"I think that he is among the safer picks in this entire year's draft class at any position, and I think he's going to be one of the truly elite players in this year's draft, not only in terms of the length of his career and being productive but also coming in and making an immediate impact as well."
-Rob Rang, CBSSports.com senior analyst

"I can't wait to see how Ingram does as an NFL guy. I thought he was great for college football. I thought in 2009, as impressive as he was on the field, I think he was more impressive with how he handled everything. I've heard people throw out the name Emmitt Smith because of the productivity and everything. I think he'd be a guy that I'd definitely want. You have a really mature kid. If his medical stuff goes well, he's a guy that the more people get to know him, the more they're going to like him."
-Bruce Feldman, senior writer ESPN The Magazine

Mark Ingram quotable from the combine:
"(Emmitt Smith) is the leading rusher in NFL history. It's a great honor just to be mentioned in the same breath as him. It's a tremendous honor. It's just a comparison. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion. I don't think I'm entitled to live up to being like Emmitt. Of course, I'm going to try and be the best player I can be. I'll take it one step at a time."

"It really was no problem to me. Trent was deserving of all his carries. We're a better team when I was splitting carries with him because he's so explosive and such a playmaker, we have to let him touch the ball. I really had no problem sharing carries with him. I love him. That's like a little brother to me. We still talk all the time."

"It was different, being a Northern boy coming down south to the real South, Alabama, but it was fun. It was an experience that I cherish for the rest of my life. I met a lot of great people. I grew up a lot as a person at Alabama. I had a lot of great experiences. Alabama always has a special place in my heart."

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