For much of the past few months as we analyze the 2011 NFL draft and where each player might be picked, the buzz has been that RB Mark Ingram would be the first running back off the board. It makes sense as he's a former Heisman Trophy winner for Alabama.
But is he the best running back in the draft or does that honor go to Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure?
Several NFL draft analysts believe Leshoure is the superior prospect. The 6'0" 227-pound Leshoure is projected to be a first or second round pick but if teams have him above Ingram then he would likely go in the first round.
He had an impressive junior season as he racked up 1,697 rushing yards -- a school record -- and 17 touchdowns. He was a second-team AP All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection.
What Leshoure also has going for him is the health of Ingram, whose banged up knee is in question. NFL Network's Mike Lombardi reported that at least two running back needy teams have taken Ingram off their board due to knee problems. That would seemingly help Leshoure as he hopes to move into the the top running back spot.
So Leshoure may end up being the safer pick of the two. We have less than two more weeks until April 28 when we'll find out which ones goes first.