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Melvin Ingram to Take Pre-Draft Visit With Patriots

Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive lineman Melvin Ingram hits the tackling dummy during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Feb 27, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; South Carolina Gamecocks defensive lineman Melvin Ingram hits the tackling dummy during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The New England Patriots are reportedly taking a closer look at one of the draft's top defensive players. During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, South Carolina outside linebacker / defensive end Melvin Ingram revealed that he has already met with the New York Jets, and plans to head to Foxboro to take a pre-draft visit with the Patriots.

Ingram is expected to go somewhere in the first 15 picks of the draft, possibly as high as the top seven. If the Patriots wanted to make a move to get him, they would likely have to trade up, possibly using both of their first round picks. However, if the Patriots were to trade up for a defensive player, Ingram would likely be on the short list of players that they would be interested in.

At 6'1" and 264 lbs with short arms, Ingram does not have typical size for a Patriots 3-4 OLB. Nonetheless, there's no denying his talent. He's got above average burst and athleticism and has excellent strength and would likely be able to consistently set the edge. He's got an array of pass rush moves with potential to grow. He can play linebacker, defensive end, defensive tackle... really, he's got the versatility to wreak havoc from any front seven spot.

He might not fit the "mold" of a typical Patriots outside linebacker. However, at some point, the Patriots need to take a risk on a player with high potential to be a bonafide playmaker along the front seven. Perhaps the Patriots are targeting Melvin Ingram to be that guy.