Name: OLB/DE Melvin Ingram
School: South Carolina
Size: 6'1.5, 265 lbs
Expected Round: 1, top 20
Strengths: Instincts are growing and is aware when dropping into coverage. Extremely great pass rush up the middle (as a DT). Fantastic special teams player. Great short-area quickness. Always better cutting into the middle when rushing the quarterback. Complete team player.
Weaknesses: Not as impressive of a rusher around the edge. Not extremely stout at setting the edge. Can be walled by better tackles (as a DE). Extreme tweener size. Has speed, but not enough to be considered a strength. Okay first step, but not explosive.
What is their role? Starting DE/OLB across from Rob Ninkovich. Most likely asked to come off the field on certain passing downs.
Will it change from year 1 to year 2? Either must be more explosive off the snap or become faster to drop into coverage if he is to be the designated pass rusher or able coverage linebacker on 3rd down.
How many downs can he play? Three downs- first two and then special teams.
Which current player will he beat out? Jermaine Cunningham, Alex Silvestro, Aaron Lavarias.
What’s his ST value? Fantastic on the return and coverage unit and as a field goal defender.
Does he have positional versatility? 4-3 DE, 3-4 OLB, 3-3 DE, 4-3 DT. Ingram can play almost every defensive front 7 position.
Why the? Ingram has the versatility that Belichick loves. He can play numerous roles and can play them well enough to warrant time on the field. Ingram is one of the few OLB/DE prospects with proven experience of dropping into coverage and he has a complete game.
Why not the? Just the size and possible cost. Ingram has flown up draft boards and could be take in the top half of the first round. He's also fairly short (6'1.5) and would be the shortest OLB on the roster by almost two inches. Is the height an issue? Possibly.
Verdict: While Ingram is a top talent, I don't see the Patriots making a move to take him. He will find success on a defense that can utilize shorter players, but the Patriots ask a lot of their OLBs and there's a reason why so few players have success. If Ingram drops, there's a chance, but I don't see him falling into the Patriots price range. The holes in his game are linked to something he can't improve (height), or is difficult to improve (first step instincts) and for those reasons, I see the Patriots not taking a chance on Ingram.