Not bringing in Mark Ingram to pair with Kerryon Johnson is the biggest mistake the Detroit Lions have made so far this offseason.
With the injury history always lingering around Kerryon Johnson, a plan B is critical to have in place. Johnson missed time due to injury during his collegiate career with the Auburn Tigers. It was much of the same for the rookie tailback last season with the Detroit Lions. His injury history dates back to high school where he battled various injuries including a sprained MCL. While Johnson was widely considered better than others taken before him in the 2018 NFL draft his injury history made him a high-risk, high-reward type of player.
Last season Johnson showed flashes of brilliance similar to those he exemplified during his time in Auburn. He’s not a power back but has no hesitation running between the tackles. He’s dangerous when he finds a sliver of light and creates room to bounce it outside. In ten games Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry on 118 totes of the rock. He scored 3 times on the ground and lost merely one fumble. He was able to catch 32 of his 39 targets for 213 yards and a score.
In my opinion, the Detroit Lions needed to add a power back to compliment Johnson’s skill-set. The perfect back was available at a very affordable price. The Lions should have focused their attention on Mark Ingram. Newly appointed offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is expected to help repair an often invisible run game. Although Ingram is not as talented as Marshawn Lynch, he is the same style of runner and could pick-up the offense quickly.
Ingram had spent the last eight years with the New Orleans Saints. The long-time Saint had seen himself in a crowded backfield for much of his first five seasons. In fact, he’s never carried the ball more than 20 times a game on average anytime throughout his career. Over the last two seasons, he split time often behind the elite talent of Alvin Kamara.
I was initially shocked when the Saints decided to let Ingram go. He would end up signing a 3-year deal to join the Baltimore Ravens where he will see himself being the lead back. He signed a 3-year, 15 million dollar deal. It’s a one year “show me” type of deal. The second year only has 500k in guaranteed money attached while the third year of the contract has no guaranteed money committed. Think of it as a one-year deal, if it works out, keep him. If it didn’t move on.
The Detroit Lions tendered a one-year, 3-million dollar offer to Malcolm Brown of the Rams. He’s a nice third or fourth back but has only achieved 514 career yards and one rushing TD throughout his career. He will turn 26 years old this May. So for 2-million more, the Detroit Lions could have added Ingram. He’s 29-years old, but a much more established back. He’s got much more wear and tear on his body, but as previously mentioned he often shared a backfield, so his 29-year-old body is a bit more preserved than others his age.
Ingram would be an upgrade to last years’ power back in Blount. He’s much more reliable than Zach Zenner or Ameer Abdullah ever was, plus he would push Johnson for the starting position. If Johnson were to sustain an injury, Ingram is more than capable of handling the heavier work-load. Don’t forget the Lions have an excellent third-down back in Theo Riddick. He always seems to be the odd back out, but he holds value with his stellar receiving ability. The Detroit Lions are also considering veteran Spencer Ware. I would rather have Ware over Brown but Ingram over both.
Mark Ingram attended high school in the state of Michigan. He attended Grand Blanc high school along with Flint Southwestern Acadamy in Flint, Michigan. The Lions should have entertained a homecoming. Last year Ingram galloped for 647 yards, averaging 4.7 a carry on 138 touches. He also added 21 grabs totaling 170 yards and a score. Over his eight NFL seasons, he’s totaled 6,007 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns.