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Mark Ingram Is Eager to Mentor Rookie J.K. Dobbins


Many people are excited about the Ravens drafting J.K. Dobbins, including Mark Ingram II.

Before the draft, Ingram said he would welcome another running back into the fold if the Ravens selected one. That's exactly what happened in the second round when Baltimore took Dobbins with the 55th-overall pick, higher than many people expected Baltimore to draft a running back.

With Ingram, Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, the Ravens have arguably the NFL's deepest running back rotation. Ingram is the vet of the group at age 30, having spent nine years in the league and coming off his third 1,000-yard season and Pro Bowl.

Ingram intends to help Dobbins adjust to the NFL, to assist the rookie in any way possible. That's who Ingram is, and part of the reason he commands huge respect in the Ravens' locker room.

"Instead of just being selfish, I think you always need to take a younger player along and just be open, be transparent, teach them some of your successes, your failures and help bring them along so they can have great careers," Ingram told NFL Network's Rich Eisen on "NFL Draft-a-thon Live." It's all about passing the game down, passing the love down."

The Ravens set the 16-game-season NFL team rushing record last year (3,296 yards) with Ingram (1,018 yards) leading Baltimore in attempts (202) and Lamar Jackson setting the NFL single-season rushing record for quarterbacks (1,206 yards).

With the addition of Dobbins, it remains to be seen how carries are divided in 2020. Ingram knows the Ravens drafted Dobbins because they are impressed with his talent, yet Ingram isn't worried about his role. He's worried about winning, and seeing what Dobbins did at Ohio State impressed the heck out of Ingram. Dobbins rushed for 4,459 yards in three seasons for the Buckeyes, including 2,003 yards last season.

"He was tearing the Big Ten up for three years," Ingram said. "We're going to get busy, that's for sure. He definitely can tote that rock. He had two years of 1,000, freshman and sophomore, and then go for 2,000? I don't care where you're at, that's toting the pill. You can tell he's got it going on."

Ingram learned early in his career not to be threatened by a deep running back room. During his last three seasons with the Saints, Ingram shared carries with Alvin Kamara, who is a weapon both as a runner and a receiver. Ingram and Kamara gave New Orleans a lethal one-two punch, and Ingram served as a mentor to his talented teammate.

Other veteran running backs did the same for Ingram after he joined the Saints as a highly-touted, first-round rookie in 2011 after winning Heisman Trophy at Alabama in 2009.

"I came in with some O.G.'s that kicked game to me – Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory," Ingram said. "I was in a good room as a youngster. Being with Alvin, being with Lamar, being with Gus and Justice last year, the running backs we have here now, it's just all about passing the game forward. Competition breeds excellence."

Dobbins is looking forward to learning from someone he admires in Ingram. To Dobbins, it's a win-win situation.

"Joining Mark Ingram, I always watched him," Dobbins said. "He's a great player, and I can learn a lot from him, I believe. It's a blessing to be on this team, and I just want to soak it all in. Just learn from everyone, and try to come in and just do my job."

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