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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Alabama running back Mark Ingram on Buccaneers' radar



There are multiple reports indicating Alabama running back and former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram is visiting the Buccaneers today.

Ingram might not be the highest-profile player to have visited Tampa Bay in advance of this month's draft -- players like Cameron Jordan of Cal have visited and are projected to be drafted earlier -- but Ingram is one of the more interesting prospects to come to town. That's because his presence here suggests that the Bucs recognize running back is not a position of great strength, though they certainly have a talented back in LeGarrette Blount.

Consider: Cadillac Williams is a free agent and arguably on the down side of his career, even though he undeniably an important asset to this team in 2010 as both a runner and receiver on third downs. Earnest Graham, who also is aging, has been strictly a fullback lately, and that doesn't figure to change.

The Bucs will get back Kareem Huggins from a torn ACL this fall, but he has no track record despite having shown tremendous upside in the past two preseasons. In short, the Bucs have practically no regular-season film to analyze when it comes to Huggins and projecting how he might help them. The same applies to seldom-used Kregg Lumpkin, who was added to the roster last season at the same time as Blount.

And, as we've learned around these parts, you just can't have enough backfield talent. Running backs absorb an extreme amount of punishment and that results in numerous injuries.

The fact that the Bucs would spend one of their prospect visits on a running back expected to be drafted in the first or second round tells us they're probably serious in considering an addition in the backfield.

Will it be Ingram? I'd say the odds are stacked heavily against that considering the major needs the Bucs need to address early in this draft (pass rusher, cornerback, etc.). But it would be surprising if the Bucs didn't come away from this draft with a running back prospect would could contend for playing time immediately.

The draft is two weeks away, so stay tuned.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 5:39pm]


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