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SB Nation New York 2011 NFL Mock Draft: With 28th Pick, New England Selects ...

Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama.

For years it seems like the New England Patriots have made due at running back with a collection of veterans near the end of their careers, limited players no one else really wanted and over-achievers only Bill Belicheck and his staff seemed able to get mileage out of.

Well, the Patriots put an end to that here by grabbing the top-rated running back in the draft. Ingram, the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner, has drawn some comparisons to all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith. He isn't exceedingly fast, large or flashy.

Draft Countdown makes the same pick for the Patriots at No. 28, and says the following about Ingram:

Ingram is clearly the top runner available in this draft and even though he doesn’t necessarily posses any special physical tools he’s a natural runner with good vision, instincts and nimble feet who bears an uncanny resemblance to Emmitt Smith. There just aren’t many teams in desperate need of a running back this year so Ingram could end up slipping to the end of round one, or perhaps even further.

My personal bias is that I do not like taking running backs in Round 1. Again and again teams have proven that you can find quality backs in later rounds, and that if you can block you can run the football. With that in mind, with tandem backfields the rage and with teams running less and passing more, the value of a running back in the first round is not that great.

Still, the Patriots have two picks in Round 1, two in Round 2 -- including the first pick of the second round -- and two more in Round 3. With all those picks in hand this is a pick New England can afford to make.

Draft Preview: Mark Ingram (via foxsports)