The Ravens wasted no time in adding an offensive weapon by signing former New Orleans running back Mark Ingram on the first day of the new league year March 13.
Ingram, who signed a three-year deal reportedly worth $15 million, will "fit perfectly" into the Ravens' offense, according to former NFL back and current Saints radio analyst Deuce McAllister.
Ingram split time with tailback Alvin Kamara the last two years, totaling 1,769 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018. But with Baltimore, Ingram has the chance to be the No. 1 back.
"He possesses the skill set to be an every-down back," McAllister said on
Glenn Clark Radio
March 14. "It's really how they want to use him. Obviously, he can run the ball on first or second down, but his ability to pass protect on third down, you won't have a problem there. He can pick up the blitz. He understands what defenses are trying to do to him. ... He'll be able to do all of that."
One of the things that jumps out first about Ingram is his average carry, McAllister said. For his career, Ingram has averaged 4.5 yards per carry and has averaged at least 4.7 during each of the last three years. McAllister was also impressed with Ingram's ability to break off big running plays.
"He has been able to break off some 50-, 60-, 70-yard runs, and it's like, 'Man, this guy is known more as an inside guy,' but he has been able to get out on the edge and have some of those explosive runs," he said.
Ingram has been hampered by injuries at times and has only played in all 16 games three times during his eight-year career. But changing his eating habits and offseason workouts has helped him stay healthy in recent years, McAllister said. Ingram played 12 games in 2018 after being suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
With the Ravens, Ingram could benefit from the speed and athleticism of quarterback Lamar Jackson who had a similar effect on running back Gus Edwards in 2018. Edwards rushed for 718 yards as a rookie.
"With [Ingram's] ability to be a one-cut back, that's what you want. You want a back that can get downhill right now," McAllister said. "Mark can do that. Any running back loves running against seven in the box, but if they do decide to walk that safety down you have to be able to account for the quarterback and that's Lamar being able to pull the ball."
"I think for him, it's just getting on the same page as those offensive lineman," McAllister continued. "They figure out, 'OK this guy loves to run off my inside heel or he likes to cut right here in certain type of plays.' And that's something that will happen over time with that group."
As for why Ingram left after eight years of playing for the team that drafted him, McAllister said the Saints wanted to bring him back, but salary cap constraints restricted how much money they could offer.
Ingram will now leave the cozy confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for M&T Bank Field. But McAllister doesn't anticipate the bad weather that can come with playing every game outdoors to affect Ingram because of his power running style.
"The speed guy, the weather is going to affect him, particularly when you talk about cutting and it's a sloppy field. Is he cutting off the inside of his foot? Can he plant?" McAllister said. "But when you're talking about a power guy, he knows he's going to get it 25-30 times just because I can wear down this defense … The opponents are going to change, obviously, going from the NFC South to the AFC North, but at the end of the day I think it'll fit perfect."
For more from McAllister, listen to the full interview here: