Through his first three NFL seasons, Mark Ingram has been nothing more than a mediocre as both a runner and a receiver. He was expected to become a feature back straight out of college, but Ingram’s career has clearly not gone as smoothly as both he and the New Orleans Saints would’ve hoped. That said, 2014 could be the year Ingram finally breaks out.
Although he was extremely inconsistent, Ingram was able to show occasional flashes of brilliance in 2013. For example, in a contest against the Dallas Cowboys early on last season, Ingram ran for 145 yards, showing the power and vision that made him a first-round pick in the first place. If Ingram can have that sort of success on a consistent basis, there is nothing stopping him from being a true star at the position.
Going into his fourth NFL season, Ingram is expected to be the Saints’ unquestioned starter for the first time in his career, and he needs to take advantage of his opportunity. With Drew Brees and the Saints’ passing attack commanding most of the defense’s attention, there should be plenty of room for Ingram to run and make plays.
2014 is going to be a big year for the Saints and Ingram. If he plays the way he is capable of playing, Ingram could become the team’s long-term answer at the running back position. That said, if he reverts back to his old habits of running timidly and going down at the first hit, Ingram could really solidify himself as a bust. Luckily for the team, that doesn’t appear to be the case, and Ingram should be the Saints’ breakout star.