NFL Draft 2012: Melvin Ingram, Is He A 4-3 End Or A 3-4 Backer?

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive lineman Melvin Ingram (24) waits his turn for the vertical jump during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

One big position of need outside of wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars is at defensive end. Despite the fact that the Jaguars were able to bring back their leading sacker from last season in Jeremy Mincey, the team still needs another defensive end. It's possible Aaron Kampman could finally be healthy and return to the line up, but banking on a 30+ year old defensive end with two knee tears in two seasons would be a mistake.

The team also will appear to lose Matt Roth in free agency, so a defensive end will likely be high on their priority list for the NFL Draft. One player who's been getting mocked more and more to the Jaguars is South Carolina defensive in Melvin Ingram. Ingram is a nice player, but the problem with his game is where does he fit and how will his game translate on the next level.

Here is a game cut up of Melvin Ingram going against Clemson during the 2011 NCAA season, curtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.

If you watch the full video, you'll notice just how much Ingram lines up on the inside of the defensive line and even stands up at the defensive end position at times. Against Clemson, Ingram didn't really effect the passer too much with his pass rush and even missed some tackles, failing to wrap up on the running back and the quarterback.

Many will make a big deal out of Ingram's short arms and while it's not necessarily a "killer" in terms of draft stock, it is an area of concern. Typically, teams want a 4-3 end to have longer arms, to easier swim, disengage, and effect throwing lanes of the passer. It also helps with defensive ends trying to knock the ball loose even while being blocked.

As you can see in the video, quite a bit of the pass rushing Ingram does for South Carolina involves stunts, with him turning into the inside of the offensive line. The best chances Ingram has at sacks and putting pressure on the quarterback come from him lining up on the inside, including this play in particular where he flushes Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd out of the pocket coming up the middle of the pocket. As you can see, Ingram starts the play in a standing up position on the inside of the defensive line, getting running start and shedding the offensive lineman to put pressure on Boyd. A good play for Ingram, but that's not something that's going to woo 4-3 teams.

There's also a few plays where Ingram seems slow off the snap, almost like he's trying to read the play before deciding to rush the passer or not. This could be his assignment or just a by product of playing against Clemson's variation of the read-option, but it makes him look slow off the ball at times and indecisive on the field.

During the season, Ingram was able to put up double-digit sacks, but going back and watching cut ups of his plays it seems the vast majority of his pressure comes from stunting to the inside or playing on the inside on pass rushing downs with freshman Jadeveon Clowney at the right end position. A quick note on Clowney, he caught my eye much more than Ingram did.

The best rush of this particular game from Ingram once again came from lining up on the inside and just flat out whipping the left guard. Again, the concern for me with Ingram as a 4-3 defensive end, is I just don't see enough actual pressure off the edge beating the offensive tackle. It's predominantly stunting inside or standing up, coming from angles. This is the precise reason I feel Ingram's best fit is in a 3-4 defense, something similar to what Rex Ryan runs with the New York Jets, where you can rush Ingram from all over the field. Limiting him to playing 4-3 right end just isn't utilizing his strengths as a player. Not to mention he can get swallowed up in the running game and struggle to disengage at times with his short arms.

Ingram is a player I like, because he plays with intensity and doesn't quit, but he just doesn't seem to fit as the No. 7 overall pick for what the Jaguars are looking for in a defensive end. He's another type of player who's value would be much better served in the mid-teens or to a team running a 3-4 defense that can maximize his ability.

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