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Cowboys Draft Talk: Workout Warrior Melvin Ingram

Cowboys fans could really get use to seeing this guy in a Dallas uniform...
Cowboys fans could really get use to seeing this guy in a Dallas uniform...

Yesterday I detailed USC defensive end Nick Perry and his excellent workout at the 2012 NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Today we will continue the workout warrior theme, detailing another pass rusher, South Carolina defensive lineman Melvin Ingram.

Related: Cowboys Draft Talk: Workout Warrior Nick Perry

Most of you already know that I hold Ingram in high regard, I believe that he is one of the best talents in all of the 2012 NFL Draft. He hasn't disappointed during his time at the NFL Combine, putting on one of the best performances of the week.

I am labeling him as a workout warrior because of the way he is performing at the combine, but he also has the game tape and college production to back up his reputation. He isn't just a flash in the pan, Ingram is the real deal folks. He enters himself as another target for the Dallas Cowboys and their 14th overall selection in the first round of the draft.

Take the jump for more Ingram goodies...

Melvin Ingram

Ingram has been creating buzz for himself at South Carolina ever since he stepped onto the field. He has built up a strong reputation as a versatile player who can do it all, and I sometimes call him "Mr. Everything". There isn't much this young man cannot do. Regardless of the scheme, 4-3 or 3-4, put him on the field and he will produce for you.

Another interesting selling point about him is that I think he has his best football to play ahead of him in the NFL. Ingram possesses a lot of untapped potential that will only improve with professional coaching. Many don't realize that he didn't become a starter for South Carolina until he became a senior.

In his junior season as a reserve pass rusher, Ingram began to open some scouts eyes with 9 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier consistently recruits talented defensive lineman, so it was hard for Ingram to get on the field earlier as a starter. That is why he was used on special teams and a role player on defense.

2010 was just the beginning for the talented defensive lineman, and he finally earned a starting role on the defensive line his senior season in 2011. Ingram put up 48 tackles, 10 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions. He displayed his versatility, lining up as a defensive tackle, defensive end and standing up as a pass rushing linebacker. South Carolina put him all over the field and used him to create match up's in their favor. Ingram was rewarded with a first team All-American and first team All-SEC selections.

At the Senior Bowl last month, Ingram performed at a high level against some of the best senior football prospects in the nation. The weigh in process left a negative impression for many due to his short arms. At the combine, Ingram weighed in at 6-1, 264 pounds, with 31 1/2 inch arms. That is interesting because just over a month ago at the Senior Bowl, he weighed 276 pounds.

Evan Silva from ProFootballTalk has a theory for his recent weight drop.

Ingram has shed a dozen pounds since the Senior Bowl, likely in an effort to be lighter on his feet in outside linebacker drills and faster in the forty. Ingram was one of college football's most versatile players, but NFL evaluators may question Ingram's ability to be productive playing with his hand up. Most of his college production came at defensive tackle.

In Saturday's Combine media interview, Ingram revealed that he's training with Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Miller played both linebacker and defensive end as a rookie in Denver.

We have heard that Nick Perry would prefer to play as a 4-3 defensive end. By the look of things in Ingram's situation, it appears that he wants to play as a outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. That is the only logical reason I can think of why he would want to drop that much weight.

Working out with Von Miller? That sounds like a great idea for Ingram to train with one of the best young pass rushers in the NFL. Remember that people said Miller was "too small" to be a productive player in the NFL, Ingram is receiving the same kind of treatment. There will be questions about his size, but his athleticism remains his strongest selling point as a prospect.

Melvin Ingram's Combine Results
4.79 40 yard dash
28 reps of 225 pounds
34.5 inch vertical jump
109 inch broad jump
6.83 3 cone drill
4.18 20 yard shuttle

Ingram's combination of athleticism and speed was on full display during the combine drills. His 4.79 40 yard dash, 34.5 inch vertical jump and 4.18 20 yard shuttle are good measures for his pass rushing ability. During the individual position workouts, he showed his smooth foot work. Great pass rushers have good footwork and look smooth performing in these workouts. He has a great first step and uses his speed to beat offensive lineman. For being a smaller prospect, he still has good strength that he can use in a bull rush. Ingram can still learn some pass rushing moves to add to his arsenal, but he has a nasty spin move and a decent bull rush already.

I see him as the complete package as a pass rusher.

  • Great pass rusher with the burst and acceleration to get after the quarterback
  • Amazing athleticism
  • Smooth footwork and fluid hips allow him to drop back into coverage
  • Has the strength to help out in the running game
  • Can set the edge against the run
  • The RKG

It is possible that Ingram may be off the board before we go on the clock. If he is available when we pick, Ingram would be a home run draft pick for the Cowboys. He would bring an instant upgrade to the outside linebacker position with his ability to get after the quarterback. DeMarcus Ware cannot continue to do it all by himself, he needs help. Melvin Ingram would be the perfect compliment for Ware, and the two would form one of the most potent pass rushing duo's in the NFL.

One thing to keep in mind is that Ware is not getting any younger, he turns 30 years old this July. How much longer can we get by with him putting up 20 sacks a year and Anthony Spencer putting up only 6 sacks a year? What happens if Ware has a down year and only puts up 12 sacks? What happens when Ware begins to take a step back, who is going to step up for us?

Those are the type of questions that are concern me deeply. We have talked about Jay Ratliff's potential decline at nose tackle, but we haven't spent time discussing the possibilities of what happens when Ware finally starts to decline. It is definitely something to think about because Ware isn't Superman, he is a human being. At some point, he will be begin to decline and it will be devastating to watch as a Cowboys fan.

Thinking towards the future by adding a capable pass rusher who could carry more of the load would be a wise decision for Jerry Jones and company to make. Melvin Ingram would be a great fit for the Cowboys and their 14th overall pick in the first round. If they are serious about upgrading the pass rush, then Ingram would be a step in the right direction.

Up Next on Cowboys Draft Talk: Workout Warrior Bruce Irvin

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