November 19, 2011; Columbia, SC, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Melvin Ingram (6) rushes for a first down on a fake punt as Citadel Bulldogs linebacker John Synovec (24) pursues in the second half at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

Prospect Outlook: Melvin Ingram DE/OLB South Carolina

Melvin Ingram exploded onto the scene with an excellent 2011 and carried his momentum thorough the Combine. He now rests right above the Cowboys’ reach but could could fall to the Cowboys if everything lines up right. If he’s there he’s the most likely pick seeing as the Cowboys signed Nate Livings as their other starting guard.

Pros: “…An explosive player with versatility and the ability to dominate in all aspects of the game…That strength gives Ingram the ability to be a dominant run defender.  He uses his hands extremely well, disengaging from blockers to tackle the ball-carrier.  He maintains leverage in tight spaces, thriving against the run whether he is in the interior or outside…I can assure you Ingram will help out the defense as a pass-rusher far more than Spencer.” (Jonathan Bales-DC Times) ” He’s done well when used in zone coverage and returned an interception for a touchdown as a junior…productive pass rusher. He plays with excellent technique to keep blockers out of his frame. Shows a nice variety of moves when he’s trying to get after the passer. Likes to fake outside and work the inside gap. Uses a spin and though it’s not the fastest he often goes in the direction to hit a gap…Could be a good 3-4 linebacker prospect because of his ability to change direction in open space…Holds the edge nicely against the run. Keeps a good base for leverage and uses his upper body strength to move linemen around. Won’t get a great push with his legs, but makes up for it with a powerful upper body…ngram is an athletic and versatile defensive lineman who can be a terror against the pass.” (Dan Kadar-Mocking the Draft) “Ingram is an athletic and versatile defensive lineman who can be a terror against the pass…Quick laterally, plays fast in tight quarters, has the speed to get around the edge but works best with counter moves to get inside for direct path and power through with good closing speed…Plays with a solid motor, doesn’t take plays off and has good range in pursuit, maintains outside contain and can show off athleticism in backside pursuit…Has proven to be extremely versatile, has experience lining up at defensive end and shifting inside to tackle, as well as rushing the passer standing up, is the type of player that can move around and could fit in any scheme.” (Sideline Scouting)

Cons:”My biggest issue with Ingram right now is getting off of the ball.  In almost every clip, you can see he is late off of the snap…Some people might have concerns with Ingram’s size, projecting him as a 4-3 defensive end without 3-4 versatility.” (Jonathan Bales-DC Times) “Almost a complete unknown in man situations. May need to learn how to match up one-on-one against tight ends and running backs. Height may be a disadvantage against big tight ends..Doesn’t have a superb first step…Won’t get a great push with his legs.” (Dan Karan-Mocking the Draft) “Is not the same type of force against the run as he is the pass, can be slow to locate the ball and his technique off the snap could improve…horter than ideal arms… Leaves his feet too often on attempted tackles, a bit of a liability until he learns to consistently wrap up… Missed all of the 2008 season due to an on-campus incident that resulted in a broken foot, but no one was charged…tweener who isn’t physically fit for a specific position.” (Sideline Scouting)

Melvin Ingram will (almost certainly) be off the board by the time the Cowboys draft, but there’s still enough of a chance that he could be at 14 (Prince Amukamara fell to the 20’s, right?) that there’s a legitimate possibility he’s in a Cowboys uniform in 2012. His first step is more explosive, but the poor reaction time is concerning. It’s actually appalling. He’s about three quarters of a second off the snap count (and the rest of the team,) making his sack totals (10) even more impressive. Unfortunately, his stat line also shows that many of his sacks come in bunches, like when he had 5.5 in two games, and he failed to dominate the weaker competition. Yes, he showed up big against Vanderbilt, Auburn, Florida, Clemson and Nebraska (27 total tackles, 10 sacks) but also was practically shut out by East Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Citadel (5 total tackles, zero sacks.) That raises a concerning question for the Cowboys or whoever drafts him-if he can’t beat up on the Citadel, how can he beat up on Green Bay?

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