Alabama’s Mark Ingram, the top running back in the upcoming draft, is scheduled to visit with the Saints tomorrow according to multiple sources.
Ingram has been in New Orleans over recent weeks training at Sonic Boom, a favorite training spot of many current Saints players, and with a top draft prospect so close to the teams facility it was only a matter if time before they made it official.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Ingram amassed 3,261 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons with the Crimson Tide. He helped lead Alabama to a National Championship that seam year when he rushed for a school best 1,631 yards and seventeen touchdowns.
Ingram is considered the best running back available in this years crop of college free agents and is likely to be the only back taken in the first round.
The Saints hold the 24th overall pick in the upcoming draft where they have a shot at nabbing Ingram. Analysts believe if he gets past the Miami Dolphins at 10 then he is likely to tumble into the lower 20′s.
Ingram has been compared favorably to Dallas Cowboy and Hall of Fame inductee Emmit Smith for their similar running styles — the not very flashy downhill power runner with great vision — although some are careful of using that distinction.
For New Orleans that is exaclty what thet have lacked since the days of Deuce McAllister, who was their last one thousand yard rusher in 2006.
Rookie Chris Ivory flashed some serious potential last seaon but still needs to prove that his body can withstand the physical pounding.
Recently the Saints re-signed Pierre Thomas to a four-year contract after an inury riddled 2010 campaign to everyone’s surprise. Reggie Bush is also expected to return on a restructured contract once a new CBA is reached
However if anyone knows how important is to have a stable of healthy running backs it’s the Saints, who used six different running backs throughout the 2010 season after a rash of injuries to both Thomas and Bush.