Up next in the draft-eligible USC Trojans series is our first combine attendee, Keaontay Ingram. Keaontay Ingram’s stock has been all over the place early in this scouting season, so where is it now after the NFL combine?
Keaontay Ingram is sure to be a familiar name for USC Trojans and Texas Longhorn fans alike, as the running back has great college production to his name under two college programs.
In his three years at Texas, Ingram started off his career strong, with 708 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in his freshman season. The next season at Texas, things really started to be looking up for Ingram, as he improved his efficiency in the passing and running game, hitting 5.9 yards per carry and 8.3 yards per reception en route to over 1,000 all-purpose yards for the Longhorns.
The next season in Austin saw Ingram have to fight through numerous injuries and some fumbles, leading to his spot being taken by Bijan Robinson. But no matter to Ingram. Keaontay Ingram then transferred to USC, where he showed his ability to be the lead back again, going for over 1,000 yards again in the 2021 season on a poor Trojans offense, demonstrating his ability to handle a significant load and play through the challenges of being a workhorse back.
With that production, Ingram surely caught the eye of several NFL scouts. Next, he had to prove that he could stick around as an athlete at the NFL level.
And Keaontay Ingram answered that question with a resounding yes at the NFL combine. While Ingram’s initial performance looked good (below), his official times gave him a RAS score of 9.61, which puts him in the top 5% of athletes at his position in the NFL.
Keontay Ingram is a RB prospect in the 2022 draft class. He scored an unofficial 9.01 RAS at the Combine out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 151 out of 1519 RB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/eHTZjzPQ9x #RAS via @Mathbomb pic.twitter.com/vVqwpIcdoe
— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 5, 2022
So, if Keaontay Ingram has excellent college production coupled with a great athletic profile, why is he not talked about as one of the top 5 backs in this class?
The problem is that Ingram seems to profile into a very specific and possibly limited role as a player.
With a lack of elite size, age, and minor injury history, most scouts see Keaontay Ingram as a player who will excel on a limited snap count. Ingram is thought to be best as the number two player in a committee.
While this role carries some value in the NFL, this role typically is not worth much more than a third or fourth-round pick. However, there are questions about how rapidly Ingram will be able to fit into such a role, primarily due to his lack of history in a pass-blocking role. His lack of history in this role is largely due to his place in the Graham Harrell air raid offense, but it may, unfortunately, harm his stock further.
Another question that exists about Ingram is his role as a special teamer. Depth running backs usually require a place on special teams. Ingram has the physical ability to take on such a role, but there is no evidence of how he would function in that role.
So, overall Keaontay Ingram looks like a decent option as a change-of-pace back in a primarily run-only role until he refines his pass blocking role. While Ingram has very high potential with his physical ability and production, his need for development may cause him to slide a bit in the draft.
Projected Round: Sixth or Seventh Round
Best Fits: Outside gap running schemes needing a secondary power runner, such as the San Francisco 49ers, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Chargers.