There’s a growing consensus that Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure should be the first running back taken in the upcoming draft. For the last three months it seemed like a sure thing that Alabama RB Mark Ingram would be the first back off the board but injury concerns have caused his draft stock to drop in recent weeks.
Yesterday NFL Networks Michael Lombardi mentioned that he has spoken with two teams that have a need at the running back position and both of them have removed Ingram from the draft boards.
“I’ve had two teams tell me the knee is very bad,” said Lombardi. “He won’t be on their boards. These are teams that need running backs.”
Greg Cosell (NFL Films), Merril Hoge (ESPN), and Charley Casserly (NFL Network) all have Leshoure as the first running back off of the board.
Ingram’s knee injury and the depth at running back are the most likely contributor to his recent decline. There’s still a number of draft experts that see Ingram as the best running back in this years draft but when you really start to look at the other players available and the needs of NFL teams, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense for someone to take a running back before the end of the first-round. There will be a number of skill position players available in the middle rounds which should present some great value picks.