Houston Texans: Is Mark Ingram II the best RB on the roster?

Houston Texans, Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram (21), now of the Houston Texans, adjusts his face mask last season. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the Houston Texans’ running back depth chart, it is interesting to say the least, as there are a wide variety of different style running backs on the depth chart.

The incumbent starter is David Johnson, a player for whom the Texans made the most scrutinized trade in franchise history. This offseason, new general manager Nick Caserio released Duke Johnson, but added Mark Ingram II, Phillip Lindsay and Rex Burkhead, creating competition at a position that will be of great importance to the offense in ’21, as there is uncertainty at quarterback entering the ’21 season.

Now the question for the Houston Texans is this … Who is their best running back, and is it Mark Ingram?

According to a recent rankings article by Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, he ranked the Top 32 running backs in the NFL entering the ’21 season, and the 32nd ranked running back was the veteran Ingram. The article states the following about Ingram:

“Mark Ingram is getting up in age and has some real mileage under his belt. He is coming off a season in which he was effectively sidelined and reduced to the role of cheerleader in Baltimore.”

In ’20, Ingram was active for just 11 games where he had only 72 rushes for 299 yards, averaging 4.2 yards per carry with two touchdowns. Just two seasons ago, Ingram was active for 15 games with the Ravens, rushing for 1,018 yards on 202 rushes, collecting 10 touchdowns in a season where he averaged 5.0 yards per carry.

Houston Texans: David Johnson has a lot to prove in 2021

If there was any Houston Texans running back on the Top 32 rankings, the presumption would be the player listed would be David Johnson, and not Ingram.

Johnson started 12 games in ’20, as he was also active for just 12 games as well. Johnson rushed for 691 yards a season ago, totaling six touchdowns on 147 carries. In comparison to Ingram, Johnson has just one 1,000-yard rushing season, while Ingram in his career has three.

If we are looking at 1,000-yard rushing seasons, Lindsay in his short career has two 1,000-yard seasons in just three years in the NFL.

Ingram has 10 previous seasons in the NFL, so he does have a vast amount of experience in the league with 1,595 regular-season rushes for 7,324 yards and 62 career touchdowns. As for Johnson, he has 928 career rushes for 3,819 yards and 32 touchdowns.

Though the Houston Texans don’t have a game-changer at the running back spot, there will be a solid competition for the starter’s role this training camp, which could be the best thing for the offense. 

Even with Ingram having the most experience in the NFL, it is tough to say he’s the best running back on the Houston Texans roster entering training camp. He’ll make the Texans stronger at the position, but Johnson has to know he has the most to prove in ’21, and that will make him the best running back on the roster once the dust settles.

Having solid players compete at running back is good for the Texans, and it will make training camp interesting, but don’t be surprised if Houston utilizes the three aforementioned rushers in Johnson, Ingram and Lindsay at various times in games in ’21 … that is, if all three even make the roster.