Monday, April 18, 2011
Source: Patriots to host Mark Ingram
By Mike Reiss
The New England Patriots are scheduled to host Alabama running back Mark Ingram on a pre-draft visit, according to a source familiar with Ingram's travel plans.
Ingram tipped off the visit on Twitter Monday morning, tweeting, "Headed to the airport, off to Boston. Another week living in the airport."
Ingram later joked that he might have a connecting flight, but the source said Ingram -- one of the top-rated running backs in the draft -- was indeed heading to visit the Patriots.
The 2009 Heisman Trophy winner rushed for 3,261 yards and 42 touchdowns in three seasons at Alabama, where he played under former Bill Belichick assistant Nick Saban. He is viewed by most analysts as a first-round draft choice.
ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Ingram 20th overall in his latest draft projections. The Patriots hold the 17th and 28th overall picks in the first round.
NFL.com reported Monday that Ingram, Florida center Mike Pouncey and Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor accepted the NFL's invitation to attend the draft.
NFL teams are allowed up to 30 in-house visits with prospects before the draft. The deadline for those visits, which are often used to double-check medical information, is Wednesday.
The Patriots have allotted a handful of those visits to running backs, which isn't a surprise given the makeup of the team's roster. BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead return as the top backs, but there are openings elsewhere on the depth chart, which is likely to go four-deep on the final 53-man roster.
In addition to Ingram, the Patriots also hosted Illinois' Mikel Leshoure on a pre-draft visit earlier in April.
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.