Patriots potential draftees: Mark Ingram

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Patriots potential draftees: Mark Ingram

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Mark Ingram.

Mark Ingram, Alabama5-9, 215Running Back

The Skinny: The highest-rated running back in this draft. Won the Heisman Trophy in 2009 when he ran for 1,658 yards. He was dinged up in 2010 but still averaged 5.5 per carry. He's compact and very solidly built. Thick. He's got elusiveness in small spaces, runs with excellent patience and finishes his runs. He's played against the highest competition, which is something the Patriots value in their evaluations. Also, he played for Bill Belichick's buddy Nick Saban, so the Patriots will get a solid review of Ingram's skills. He's not exceptionally fast but accelerates quickly to his top speed and has excellent quickness.

Gotta Have Him: The Patriots got excellent production from BenJarvus Green-Ellis in 2010 (1,008 yards) but the cupboard is nearly bare around him. Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor are both free agents and both are aged and injury prone. It will be a minor upset if the Patriots re-sign either, a stunner if they keep both. Ingram is a classic "bell cow" -- the kind of player you give the ball to 20 to 25 times a game. Yet his style is similar enough to Green-Ellis' that you could split carries and not lose rhythm with the offensive line. You need two solid running backs in today's NFL and a third-down back. Ingram would be the best back here since Corey Dillon.

Don't Need Him: The notion that teams need to build around big-ticket running backs with impressive resumes has vanished. Consider Green-Ellis. Or the NFL's leading rusher in 2010, Houston's Arian Foster. Both were undrafted. And there are many more examples of guys plucked from the bargain bin who are major contributors. Hence, would the Patriots want to spend a first-round pick on a position that can be ably filled later in the draft?

Forecast: Ingram will be there for the Patriots at 17. He could actually be there at 28 or 33, as well. Wes Bunting at National Football Post has Ingram as his seventh-rated player but doesn't have any team taking him in the first round of his mock draft. It just shows how the value of the position has dropped. The Patriots like Ingram. And his consistency, dependability and performance against top-tier competition makes it exceedingly easy to project him into the NFL. The last time the Pats took a running back in the first round it was Laurence Maroney and he didn't work out so good. But Ingram is kind of the anti-Maroney in style and resume.

Pats Draftability (1-10): 8

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Bennett to critics: ‘You take a paycut’

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Martellus Bennett is as good at Twitter as he is at football. Add to that the fact that all eyes are on whether the free agent will stay in New England and the @MartysaurusRex account becomes a must-follow. 

On Wednesday, Bennett put his powers to good use and shared a glimpse into his line of thinking regarding free agency.

Bennett, who could very well leave the Pats for more money, responded to a criticism of his desire to get paid and followed it with several more musings. 

Report: Belichick may be called to testify in Hernandez trial

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Bill Belichick, identified as "William Belichick," has been added to the list of potential defense witnesses who could testify during the upcoming double-homicide trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, according to the Boston Herald.

Per the Herald, the new list of potential witnesses for the defense also includes Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was Hernandez's teammate at the University of Florida. 

Belichick, McDaniels and Pouncey aren't guaranteed to testify, but their presence on the civilian witness list makes their presence in court a possibility. 

Hernandez's trial is scheduled to start next Wednesday. He's accused of killing Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Furtado back in July of 2012. Hernandez is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of the murder Odin Lloyd in 2013.