Mark Ingram receives clean bill of health

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide’s Mark Ingram celebrates scoring a touchdown against the University of Texas Longhorns during the fourth quarter in the NCAA’s BCS National Championship football game in Pasadena, January 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lori Shepler (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The Miami Herald is reporting that the famed Dr. James Andrews has given running back prospect Mark Ingram a clean bill of health heading into Thursday night’s NFL draft.

The Herald also points out that Ingram was not asked to return to Indianapolis for a medical recheck following the scouting combine. This is significant because potential draftees with medical red flags are often asked to return to Indy for further evaluations.

The health status of Ingram is important to the Dolphins, who hold the No. 15 overall pick. There’s a good chance that free agents Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams have played their last snaps in South Beach and the Fish could snag a running back in the first round. Ingram would most likely be available at that spot and is arguably the best running back prospect in the draft.

Of course, Ingram’s clean bill of health doesn’t mean that the Dolphins will select him with the No. 15 pick – even though running back is arguably their biggest need. The interior of their offensive line is also a need, as is quarterback and even safety. It seems unlikely that Miami would take a signal caller in the first round, but it’s hard to figure what will go down on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall. This year’s draft is shrouded in mystery.

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Teams concerned about Mark Ingram’s knee?

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram dives over Michigan State Spartans cornerback Marcus Hyde for a touchdown during the first half of the Capital One Bowl college football game in Orlando, Florida, January 1, 2011. REUTERS/Phelan M. Ebenhack (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers isn’t the only prospect that might see his draft stock fall over these next couple of weeks due to concerns about a knee injury.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi, teams have growing concerns about the health of Alabama running back Mark Ingram, who had his knee scoped prior to the 2010 season. After rushing for 1,658 yards and a 6.1 YPC average on 271 carries in 2009, the former Heisman Trophy winner was limited to just 875 yards on 158 totes a year ago.

I’ve released three mocks and in all three of them, I’ve had the Dolphins selecting Ingram with the No. 15 overall pick. There’s a real possibility that Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams (who are both free agents) have played their last downs in Miami, making the selection of Ingram a popular one in many mocks – not just mine.

But if his knee is a concern for some teams, then he could easily fall into the second round. Plus, there’s growing sentiment that the Dolphins want a home run threat, which doesn’t exactly describe Ingram’s game. If that’s the case, then maybe the Dolphins will look to nab someone like Oklahoma State’s Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray or UConn’s Jordan Todman in the middle rounds.

If Ingram does slip into Round 2, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not a running back will even be selected in the first. Mikel Leshoure of Illinois is viewed as a potential first round pick, but Ingram is listed ahead of him in most pundits’ rankings so he may fall, too. It isn’t a great year for running back-needy teams, although there are always bargains in the middle rounds.

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