The Baltimore Ravens needed to do everything possible to help Lamar Jackson and the offense in 2019. They’re off to a great start by signing Mark Ingram.
1. Mark Ingram postpones need for running back
The Baltimore Ravens were headed into the 2019 off-season in dire need of running back help. Despite the team’s successes in the run game in 2018, there was a seriously devoid of talent that needed to be addressed ASAP. Baltimore was looking to enter 2019 with Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon as the only proven players. That’s not a very ideal situation…
However, after heavy interest all off-season, the Ravens pulled the trigger on Mark Ingram, and he will come to Charm City and establish continuity at the running back spot.
Ingram just turned 29-years old a few months ago, so he still has gas in the tank. Even in his time in New Orleans, he was never used to his full capacity, meaning he’s still relatively fresh compared to other running backs his age. But with Ingram’s talent level and reasonable contract, there’s little reason to believe he can’t be the Ravens short-term answer at the running back spot.
2. Mark Ingram is the lead-back the Ravens have lacked
As we mentioned, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon were the only “viable” running backs heading into 2019. While Edwards finished 2018 strong, Dixon was a non-factor almost the entire year. In fact, Dixon has been one of the most disappointing running backs in franchise history.
The 2019 NFL Draft seemed like the only place to find answers, however Baltimore has far too many needs to use one of their draft picks as a luxury to select a running back. It doesn’t help that the 2019 crop is murky and risky. With adding Ingram to the mix, the Ravens now have themselves a reliable starter who can give the team exactly what they need.
3. Mark Ingram’s versatility will be key for offensive success
Building off that last statement, Mark Ingram truly is a jack-of-all-trades. Ingram is a sure runner with confidence to make a big-play every time he hits the hole. Ingram has underrated play strength and has that mentality of not going down on first contact, and then falling forward for extra yards. Believe it or not, guys with both of these mindsets are hard to find.
It gets even richer, however, as Ingram also happens to be an above average pass catcher. Ingram’s 228 career receptions are good, but when you take into account that 204 of those have come since 2014 it becomes even more impressive. With the exception of 2018, Ingram has had 1,000+ scrimmage yards in each season between 2014 and 2017.
Ingram meshed well with Alvin Kamara in 2017, and the two became one of the best running back duos in NFL history. Despite the fact that Kamara was uber talented, Ingram held his own and led the New Orleans Saints in rushing yards (1,124) and touchdowns (12), both of which were career-highs.
With all of this is mind, it’s hard to envision a realistic scenario in which Mark Ingram is a flop in Baltimore. Short of injuries or suspension, Ingram hasn’t shown any real signs of slowing down just yet. Considering how dirt cheap the Ravens scooped him up for, it appears the team hit a grand slam here, and Ingram could be just what Baltimore has been looking for offensively.