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Saints have flexibility at RB spot after drafting Ingram

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Dan Parr
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Posted April 29, 2011 @ 12:31 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

One of the biggest sliders in the 2011 NFL draft, Alabama RB Mark Ingram, fell to the 28th spot in the draft and the Saints pounced to get him. They might have shaken up their backfield in the process — at least that's what RB Reggie Bush seems to think.

Four spots after drafting DE Cameron Jordan, New Orleans traded its second-round pick this year (No. 56 overall) and its 2012 first-rounder to acquire the 28th pick from the Patriots before taking Ingram, the first back selected and the draft's highest-ranked rusher.

With Bush, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory under contract through 2011 and Ingram being thrown into the mix, the Saints have a crowd at running back. Bush, who is due $11.8 million next season, interpreted the selection of Ingram as a sign that his time with the Saints soon would be up. Bush tweeted "It's been fun New Orleans," shortly after Ingram was picked, but head coach Sean Payton said Thursday after making the pick that selecting Ingram has no bearing on Bush's future.

If Bush is willing to take a steep pay cut, he could still be a Saint next season, but if that tweet is any indication, his pride could get in the way and force the two sides to part ways.

As for Ingram, he has the potential to make an impact right away. The concerns about his knee apparently were blown out of proportion and he's built to be a 20-carry-per-game, highly productive rusher.

The Saints' RB corps was ravaged by injuries last season and the team is stockpiling players to make sure depth is not an issue at the position in '11. New Orleans' offense is at its best when there is balance between the run and the pass, and this group of runners should be able to take pressure off QB Drew Brees.

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