Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
6-foot-1 1-2, 264 pounds
Draft projection: First round
Lowdown: Like Alabama’s Courtney Upshaw, Ingram is a good pass rusher who lacks the ideal size teams seek in a sure-fire, first-round edge rusher. Ingram is only 6-1 ½ and has relatively short arms, 31.5-inches. However, he’s productive, and he could wind up inside the top 10 of the draft. He had nine sacks as a junior, even though he started only one game. As a senior in 2011 he had 10 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss. He does not seem to have a real long-striding first step, but he has good closing speed to the quarterback. He's quick and he uses his leverage well. He showed his running ability in the 45-42 win over Georgia when he took a fake punt return 68 yards for a touchdown. He even was on the hands team on onside kickoffs. He’s versatile. The Gamecocks often lined him up inside at defensive tackle in pass-rush situations, too.
“I feel like playing so many roles helped me,” Ingram said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I feel like my coach gave me the opportunity to show my athletic ability in every way.”
Buffalo angle: The Bills obviously don't need him to rush from the tackle spot, they have enough guys who can do that. But Ingram has enough quickness to be a consideration for the Bills at the 10th spot.
Height issue: Ingram thinks he uses his 6-1 height to his advantage against tall offensive tackles.
“I feel like it helps me a lot,” he said. “I feel like when I come off the ball I already have leverage. So I just try to counter-move off whatever the offensive linemen do.”