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Thursday, 19 May 2011 11:11
New Orleans Hope For Early Help From Ingram And Other New Saints
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Gil Brandt, longtime player personnel expert for the Cowboys and now a columnist for believes history will show Saints running back Mark Ingram as one the year's draft steals.

"I think of him in relation to Emmitt Smith in terms of style and I think he will be a successful running back for the Saints." judged Brandt. "He's got great character and that is a big success factor as well. If not for the current group-think that has teams steering clear of tailbacks early in the draft, Ingram would have been a top 15 pick."

Ingram will be joining Reggie Bush in the backfield, which will give an NFL team two Heisman Trophy winners in the backfield at the same time since 1987 when Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson were with the Raiders.

However, in 1986, Raiders owner Al Davis got into a widely publicized argument with Allen, whom he accused of faking injuries. The feud continued into 1987 and Davis retaliated by signing Bo Jackson, who was also the left-fielder for the Kansas City Royals and couldn't play for the Raiders full time until October after the baseball season ended.

Even worse, another strike cost the NFL one game and prompted teams to use substitute players.

Ingram is the heavy-duty back coach Sean Payton has wanted since knee injuries stopped Deuce McAllister. Ingram can get the tough inside yards and is an effective runner in the red zone. He is a competent receiver out of the backfield.

The Saints got a huge presence in the middle defensively in signing veteran defensive tackle  Shaun Rogers from Cleveland to stuff the inside running lanes. If Rogers can keep his weight respectable, he is also efficient in pushing the inside pocket as a pass rusher.

First-round draft pick Cameron Jordan is also strong against the run and is a good edge pass rusher. His instincts and technical skills will have him in the starting lineup in the season opener.

Illinois linebacker Martez Wilson has the skills to start in the NFL, but scouts say he will need some refinement with his over-all game and his ability to react quicker on the field.

Defensive coordinator Greg Williams puts special emphasis on having a good nickel cornerback, and Louisville's Johnny Patrick and looks like a perfect fit for that spot. Patrick was one of the most technically sound cornerbacks in the draft and has a strong shot to contribute early.

The Saints were sub-par in stopping the run and getting a consistent pass rush last season and they are putting building blocks together for 2011.

Some hither others yon: 

Pittsburgh defensive end Greg Romeus looked to be on the verge of developing into one of the elite pass rushing defensive ends in college football before undergoing back and knee surgeries. If he can get healthy, defensive line coach Bill Johnson will take care of smoothing put the rough spots.

SBG Global, an online betting service, has listed the odds to win the Heisman Trophy in 2011. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who would have been the No. 1 over-all had he entered the draft, is the favorite at 3-1. Here are the top 10 favorites: 1) QB Andrew Luck, Stanford, 3-1; QB Denard Robinson, Michigan, 5-1; RB Marcus Latimore, South Carolina. 5-1; QB Landry Jones, Oklahoma, 6-1; RB  LaMichael James, 6-1; WR Justin Blackmon, 10-1; WR Ryan Broyles,  Oklahoma, 12-1; RB Trent Richardson,  Alabama, 12-1; RB Knile Davis, Arkansas, 15-1; QB Robert Griffin, Baylor, 15-1...

by Ed Staton

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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