In the first round of the 2011 NFL draft, the New Orleans Saints left day feeling really good. The Saints not only used their original first round pick at the 24th spot, but made a trade with the Patriots for the 28th pick as well.
With both selections the Saints made two excellent choices that will fit well in their system. With the 24th overall pick the Saints selected defensive end Cameron Jordan from Cal Berkley. Then four picks later the Saints traded with the Patriots for the 28th pick overall and selected 2009 Heisman Trophy Winner Running Back Mark Ingram from Alabama. Both players have the ability to become major contributors to the Saints.
The 2010 Super Bowl champion Saints were just not the same this past season. They were knocked-out of the playoffs in the first round by the Seattle Seahawks. It looked disastrous especially when running-back Marshawn Lynch ran all over Saints defenders.
Going out and selecting a strong defender on the line like Jordan to stop the running game was an obvious need. He will be able to sharpen and provide youth to a veteran defensive line that released former starter Charles Grant in 2010. The Saints get a strong talented defender that will work well with their 4-3 defensive unit. Jordan’s primary responsibilities will be to attack the opposing quarterback and stop the run. He has what it takes to succeed with the Saints. He has great strength to drag down ball-carriers and slip off blockers to make plays. Best of all he plays with the high intensity that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will enjoy working worth week in and week out.
Selecting Ingram to add force to the Saints running game was a wise decision. Last season their running game wasn’t exactly the same it was during their Super Bowl winning season. Both of their star backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas missed games due to injuries in 2010. And rookie Chris Ivory brought some life to the running game but he himself was plagued with a foot injury towards the end of the season.
Bush is also expected to take a pay cut if the Saints decide to offer him an extension. As of right now Bush is owed $11.8 million for the 2011 season, which is an enormous number for a situational player.
Ingram will be a great asset because of the great running scheme head coach Sean Payton has already installed. He should work well as a part of the Saints running back rotation.
Ingram was the best running-back going into this years draft. Coming from a winning tradition at Alabama he will shine with the Saints offensive unit.
Ingram has what it takes to be a great back in the NFL. Maybe he doesn’t posses off the chart speed of most running backs selected in the first round in recent history, but he is productive while posessing great vision and balance. As well as a solid burst and strong ball security.
The Saints did their job in the first round of the selecting Jordan to strengthen their defensive line and trading up for Ingram to solidify their running game. The Saints deserve around of applause on the first day of the draft.