Mark Ingram's speed should scare Dolphins

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
3:23
PM ET
Football Outsiders have a warning for the Miami Dolphins: Don't draft Mark Ingram.

That's a contrarian viewpoint, to be sure. Everyone from Mel Kiper Jr. to my Aunt Kathy thinks the Dolphins will use their 15th pick on Ingram if the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner still is on the board.

[+] EnlargeMark Ingram
Marvin Gentry/US PresswireMark Ingram improved on his 40 time at Alabama's pro day, clocking in at 4.55 seconds.
But Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell asserts that drafting Ingram would be a bad idea, Insider even though the Dolphins probably will need a running back and Ingram is considered the best in this year's draft class.

Barnwell compiled 40-yard dash times from the NFL scouting combine and plugged them into Football Outsiders' metric known as Speed Score. The formula takes a 40 time and puts it into context with the player's weight to determine a more usable figure.

The average Speed Score for a first-round running back is 112. Ingram's 4.62 time and 215-pound frame worked out to a 94.4 Speed Score, ranking 20th among the running backs at this year's combine. Ingram did run the 40-yard dash in about 4.55 seconds at his pro day this week.

Barnwell noted that some star running backs have posted numbers below 100, but they add versatility when it comes to receiving or blocking. Brian Westbrook scored a 91.7. Ray Rice registered a 99.7.

Since 1999 -- the earliest year of Football Outsiders data on Speed Scores -- no running back drafted in the first round had a lower Speed Score than the 96.9 Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno posted two years ago.

"While Moreno was seen as a supremely versatile back, Ingram is being lauded primarily for his abilities as a runner," Barnwell wrote. "In fact, the only two backs to emerge as viable pro starters since 1999 with a Speed Score below 95.0 are Westbrook and Ahmad Bradshaw. The odds are certainly against Ingram being the third."

Barnwell mentioned a few examples of how Speed Score has identified value.

William Green scored a 98.7 before the Cleveland Browns drafted him 16th in 2002. Trung Canidate came in at 99.3 before the St. Louis Rams took him 31st in 2000. The jury's still out on Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, but he had a below average 107.5 score before getting drafted ninth.

Examples of good value from last year: Green Bay Packers sixth-round pick James Starks at 106.3 and undrafted Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie LeGarrette Blount at 105.8.

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