Packers Rumors: A Trade for Mark Ingram?
Though the Packers have never given any indication they think this way, people keep suggesting the team needs to acquire a veteran running back.
Bleacher Report’s Sean Tomlinson is the latest writer to float this idea, declaring the Packers’ need at running back to be so severe that it merits making one of his seven “realistic” trades that could improve a title contender.
Tomlinson writes the Packers should consider trading for Saints running back Mark Ingram, arguing Aaron Rodgers’ quest for another title would be eased by a “proper supporting cast assembled around him.” That proper cast, Tomlinson concludes, has to include a veteran running back. That running back, apparently, is Ingram.
Why would the Packers need another running back?
Tomlinson’s main point in arguing for a trade for Ingram isn’t completely insane. He believes Ty Montgomery is too much of an unproven commodity to bank on for a whole season:
Ty Montgomery was a pleasant surprise in 2016, and the Packers are hoping his emergence can continue into 2017. Injuries forced Montgomery to transition from wide receiver to running back, and he responded by averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
But Montgomery has never had to go through the weekly pummeling that's standard for an NFL running back. Although there's intrigue in the three rookies behind him on the depth chart, they are still, well, rookies, and projecting anything confidently is difficult.
It’s true: Montgomery has never played a full season at running back and he’s had some injury issues before. It’s a fair question to ask if he can make it through an entire season.
But Tomlinson answers his own question about any Packers uncertainty at running back with the final line of that quote: the Packers know what they’re doing at running back this season because they already drafted three running backs. They don’t need to send another draft pick away for Mark Ingram. The ink is still barely dry on the draft cards they used to select three running backs already.
Ingram doesn’t even make sense on paper
But even assuming the Packers were in the market for a running back, why would they consider Ingram? He’s a terrible fit for what the Packers try to do with their running backs.
As we’ve well established, the Packers need their backs to be good runners out of shotgun, good pass protectors, and good receivers. Without even addressing Ingram’s pass blocking abilities, it’s easy to see that he’s a complete non-factor out of shotgun and catching passes.
In six NFL seasons, Ingram has carried the ball from a shotgun formation just 96 times, an average of about once per game. On those attempts, he’s averaged a very pedestrian 4.1 yards per carry, a third of a yard below his career average and full yard lower than what he averaged last season.
And though he’s been more involved in the last few years, Ingram is still a poor receiver, averaging just 6.8 yards per catch for his career. That’s more than two yards worse than Eddie Lacy, who few would consider a significant factor in the receiving game.
And speaking of Lacy, why would the Packers want to trade for a player who would count for more against the cap than Lacy would have when the Packers let Lacy walk this offseason, especially when they’d have to give up a draft pick to get him?
In short, the Packers do not need more help at running back, and even if they did, Mark Ingram wouldn’t be the guy to do it. This is a rumor we can put to bed quite confidently.