NFL.com’s Reuter: Cardinals’ Ingram among late picks with chance to start
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim described sixth-rounder Keaontay Ingram as a physical, downhill running back who can contribute this season on draft night.
NFL Network draft analyst Chad Reuter agrees, placing the former USC Trojan and Texas Longhorn on a list of Day 3 picks with a chance to start games in 2022.
The Cardinals have James Conner solidly in the starting role with a competition behind him consisting of Ingram, Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward.
Conner, though, has only lined up for 65% of offensive snaps once in his NFL career, back in 2018. He played 58% last year, inheriting the starting spot after Chase Edmonds injured his ankle in Week 9.
The 27-year-old made the Pro Bowl after scoring 15 rushing touchdowns, but he has seldom been an every-down back.
That creates chances for the three younger players on the depth chart to fight for snaps.
Also, Conner has yet to play a full season in the NFL. He missed two games in 2021, three in 2020, six in 2019 and three in 2018.
Reuter noted each of these points when arguing for Ingram’s chance to get prominent playing time.
Ingram’s rushing and receiving ability out of the backfield give him a chance at the lion’s share of work when James Conner is not on the field. Conner has missed at least at least three games in four of his five seasons in the league, and he only started six of 15 appearances last year while splitting time with the now-departed Chase Edmonds in the backfield. Chances are good Ingram will start several games as a rookie.
Ingram is a 6-foot, 215-pound running back who was an honorable mention for the 2021 All-Pac-12 team.
He told reporters that he wants to be a consistent and durable weapon for his new squad.