Melvin Ingram in Seattle? I can’t see it

Ingram doesn't make a logical fit in Seattle's defensive scheme

I’m a little surprised that Melvin Ingram’s stock has steadily grown to the point he’s considered a top-15 pick. Coming into the 2011 season, he was pretty much an afterthought. A fifth year senior who missed the whole of 2008 with a broken foot suffered off the field, he carried a mid-late round grade. He started out at linebacker before moving up front, but his eye-catching athleticism led to a role returning kicks having worked as a running back at high school. He accumulated 19 sacks in the last two seasons and a few explosive plays this year have helped put him in the national picture. But top-15?

It’s tough to work out exactly where he fits in the NFL – especially on the Seahawks roster. He’s 6-2 and 276lbs but looks squat, almost like a big running back. He hasn’t got the leaner frame you’d expect for an outside rusher, but neither has he got the size to kick inside to play defensive tackle at the next level. Ingram is the very definition of a tweener and although he’ll go into the NFL with a decent résumé and plenty of experience, are you really going to spend a high first round pick on someone with no obvious or defined role?

Mel Kiper mocked Ingram to Seattle in his first projection of the year, stating,

The Seahawks have quietly made major strides in overhauling the roster and finding solutions to grow with in the past two years. Last year, they targeted offensive linemen early, and with the addition of Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin, also have good talent at wide receiver. Even banged up at O-line, they ran the ball with some effectiveness. Obviously, quarterback remains a big question, but that’s not something they can target at this spot in the draft. What they can do is add a final piece to a defense that is young, fast and extremely good in the secondary. The linebacking corps was strengthened by the emergence of K.J. Wright. So the work is up front and at defensive end for a team that was just 23rd in the NFL last year in sack percentage. Ingram is just big enough to fit this system as a 4-3 defensive end, and should add a boost to the pass rush early.”

This to me looks like a projection based around a statistics sheet charting quarterback sacks. The Seahawks don’t run a conventional 4-3 and use Red Bryant at end to provide greater support against the run. Pete Carroll set this out deliberately to create an identity and while he’s talked about getting more speed among the front seven, there’s little chance he’ll abandon the Bryant experiment. Seattle wants to shut down the run, which is why you see Bryant (333lbs) line up alongside Brandon Mebane (311lbs) and Alan Branch (325lbs) for a lot of the defensive snaps. They mixed in Raheem Brock for specialist blitzes and certain passing downs, but are they really going to draft someone with the #11 or #12 pick that inherits such a limited role?

I suspect the Seahawks are not necessarily looking for a defensive end to play across from Clemons. If they can find an upgrade for the WILL linebacker position and someone who can play up at the LOS on passing downs, excellent. If they can find a three-technique with the necessary size to feature in any defensive play call, that’ll be a strong option. If there’s a potentially elite pass rusher who can upgrade the LEO for the long term and allow cost-effective Chris Clemons to become even more of a specialist, they’d have to at least consider it. The problem is, none of those roles fit Melvin Ingram. He lacks the height and frame of a prototypical LEO, he’s not big enough to play inside and although he played linebacker in 2007 are you really spending a top-15 pick to revert back to that?

I’ve enjoyed watching Ingram the past two years and there’s no doubt he’s athletic. He moves well, he has an effective spin move, he stays busy and you can’t argue with his production. But what’s his position? He doens’t look like a five technique, he’s not a natural power end, he probably isn’t going to play linebacker at the next level. He can be engrossed by bigger lineman and while he’s quick, is he going to work the edge quite as well in the NFL? Can he move inside and penetrate against pro-interior lineman on third downs? I’m really not convinced.

This is a bad overall draft for defensive lineman and perhaps that is one of the reasons why pundits like Kiper feel obliged to make this kind of pick for the Seahawks. There’s no doubt that beyond the quarterback position, improving the pass rush is Seattle’s greatest need. Yet without departing from the current defensive scheme, I just can’t see it. It seems like a match made out of mock draft convenience.

I think they’d like to find a linebacker who’s comfortable in coverage, plays three downs, can get to the quarterback and push up to the LOS on third down. In many ways this team is searching for a younger Julian Peterson. He’s not there. The closest thing you’ll get to the type of player they’re maybe looking for is Zach Brown at North Carolina. You can run through the possible LEO candidates, but it’s just a rank bad draft to try and address the defensive line in round one and there are better options later. I understand arguments for Devon Still and Michael Brockers, but I’m still trying to work out if their natural fit isn’t actually at the five-technique rather than the three and whether they warrant strong consideration.

While the Seahawks aren’t going to force the issue at quarterback, neither are they likely to force the issue on a defensive player just because it’s the next strongest need. This week I projected Brock Osweiler as an option and in fairness he’s a player gaining moment right now. If that’s unrealistic, I fully expect the next most likely alternative to be wide receiver considering the depth of quality at the position. Although many people see Justin Blackmon as a top-five lock, I completely disagree and actually think he could easily be there at #11 or #12 as the kind of ‘touchdown maker’ Pete Carroll desires. I’m not a fan personally, but Dre Kirkpatrick is the type of tall and physical corner Pete Carroll has brought to this team and he’s also discussed collecting further depth in the secondary.

With six picks in the draft and the possibility to move around to accumulate more, Carroll and John Schneider will have ample opportunity to keep building their defense. Let’s also not rule out potential moves during free agency and while the Seahawks might not make any major financial transactions, who’s to say they won’t uncover another Chris Clemons, Brandon Browner or Alan Branch? There seems little point in fighting the draft board when it lacks top-end defensive talent and drafting Melvin Ingram that early would be a key example of that. Here’s the tape…

The following games vs East Carolina, Georgia and Auburn were supplied by MarioClP, JMPasq and Aaron Aloysius


  1. dave crockett

    I get what you’re saying about Ingram being a tweener.

    But don’t the same arguments apply to Courtney Upshaw, who you mocked to Seattle? You described him as having a similarly less-than-defined role as a “maybe” linebacker or DE?

    I’m not advocating for Ingram. I’m more curious. Do you think Upshaw is that much better of a prospect?

  2. tom page

    I was wondering what you thought about Ingram. I think finding an heir apparent for Clemons is the priority right behind QB. If they draft a Leo type early, they immediately take Brock’s roster spot and become the starter in 2013. It sounds like you think taking Ingram in the 11 or 12 spot is a reach and that makes sense. Coach Carroll constantly talks about getting long limbed players so being 6-2 doesn’t fit that. What do you think about Nick Perry, Whitney Mercilus, or Vinny Curry? All those guys have the correct build for the Leo and are relatively highly regarded.

  3. Rob

    Dave – I think with Upshaw you’re talking about a player who could realistically play the WILL position and also defensive end on certain downs without giving up anything against the run. He’s so powerful and just ‘gets’ leverage – while Ingram despite his size is often too upright in his stance and gets blocked out. Upshaw has a more obvious role in this defense and if they use more 3-4 looks going forward he will thrive. Whether you’re talking about 4-3 or 3-4, I can’t place Ingram.

    Tom – I’m not totally convinced on Perry but he might be the best from that group. I’ve seen him have some really good games for USC and than at other times he’s annonymous. He’s had injuries too. Mercilus confuses the heck out of me because there’s no rhyme or reason to his mass production this year – he’s not got a great repertoire, elite speed, driving strength, a great bull rush or counter, or great hands. Then you watch the tape and he’s making another sack. I have work to do with him. Curry looks a bit heavy too me and not mobile enough to play the LEO – he’s more about power and should try to add weight.

  4. Jim Q.

    I enjoy your website on an “everyday” basis, it’s great to have a forum wherein we fans can discuss draft/player information that we would probably not have much of otherwise. Keep up the good work, it’s much appreciated.

    I know you don’t like to project or anticipate trades coming up in the draft, however, PC/JS do have some history of trading down and it seems to me that their really aren’t many attractive options for pick #12. In the event that they can’t trade up to get RG-III, and assuming Osweiler is considered a reach at #12, a round-1 trade down could be very much in the cards this year.

    It looks like almost all of the mock drafts that I’m seeing lately have the Cleveland Browns picking RG-III with their 4-th pick overall in the upcoming draft. The Seahawks, by contrast, don’t really seem to have an ideal player to pick with their #12 selection, assuming they can’t trade up to get RG-III. What to do? Settle for whats there at #12 or trade down if at all possible! I think a trade down is most likely.

    It would make perfect sense to me if – after the Browns draft RG-III with their #4 pick, that they may have significant interest in WR’s in general, but especially in WR-Kendall Wright (also form Baylor). If Kendall Wright was still available when the Seahawks are on the clock for the #12 pick, I would think that the Seahawks and Browns MIGHT want to talk. (Kind of like T-Jack & Rice?)

    The “old” trade chart, if anywhere near still adaptable, works out perfectly. Seattle’s #12 pick is worth 1200 points, Cleveland’s #24 pick is worth 740 points. The Seahawks MIGHT then receive Cleveland’s #24 pick (and draft QB-Osweiler?) plus their #56 (340-points) and their #150 (120-points) which totals to the 740-point difference between #12 & #24. If do-able, does this make any sense?

  5. Derek

    I think your pick is entirely plausible. We get QB round 1, maybe even trade back a bit to get a 4th or a 5th and get Danny Trevathan to play Will in the second round who adds that element of speed and a pass rush. I am not sold on Zach Brown and don’t think he warrants a top 15 pick. I would also love to get Chris Polk. How do you think he fits into our offense? This would be a solid year to get a QB as well. Tavaris is more than a serviceable starter and we bring in a guy like Osweiler and he sits for a year to compete with Portis and then going into 2013 Portis and Osweiler battle it out for starter in training camp.

    I know you say we wont force anything to get a QB but I think we pretty much have to this year. It may not be in the first round but we have to draft a guy this year. Tavaris is up next year, Whitehurst I am sure is gone, and that only leaves Portis.

  6. Nate Dogg

    I don’t necessarily disagree with you on Ingram, but I do notice that your evaluation of him sounds very similar to your evaluation of Von Miller last year. The specifics are a little different, in that Ingram is kind of oversized while Miller was undersized, but the highly productive tweener with no obvious position who received a mid round grade a year or two ago but now has top 10/15 stock reminds me of what you wrote in the past.

    I think it’s fair to say you missed on Miller, do you think there’s any chance you’re missing something similar with Ingram?

  7. Rob

    Jim Q – Really appreciate it Jim, thanks. I think moving down makes a lot of sense this year, and I speak as someone who has often battled with the concept of accumulating more picks in the face of quality earlier on. Simply put, this isn’t a great draft at the top of R1 and the Seahawks would be right to try to make a move up or down the board. I can see teams looking at WR’s and targetting Seattle’s pick as you say and I can also see teams looking at Arizona and thinking they’ll be in the market for an OT (Martin? Reiff?) or whoever is the #1 pass rusher in a bad overall class and it would be a good place to move up. Seattle could get offers.

    Derek – I think Polk would be a superb RB2 to play with Lynch. I’m a huge Polk fan, he’s going to have a big future in the NFL. I also agree on the QB’s – eventually they have to roll the dice. That doesn’t mean making a stupid decision or picking the wrong guy, it just means not waiting on the faultless player either. Seattle can’t keep improving and hope to be in position to draft Luck/Barkley/Griffin type QB’s. So either you move up, or you start really looking at guys like Brock Osweiler.

  8. Derek

    Where do you think we would have to target Polk to get him? Back end of round 1 or move up in round 2? I don’t think he will be there at our original second round pick, although it is possible with a projected 5 WRs to go as early as the first round. I like the idea of trading back and at least getting the pick we gave up for Lynch back. I can’t remember if it’s a 4th or a 5th. Will you be doing a more detailed piece on Brockers? Also a piece on possible WILL options would be good. I agree with you that they will look there more than a traditional DE to get their pass rush. That and a 3 tech. I could see them getting Brockers at 12 if he provides a decent pass rush and then a WILL in the second. Much like last year when we went tackle/guard in 1/3.

    Also, I am not sure with Holmgren’s history, but how likely do you think it is he selects RGIII?

  9. Rob

    Nate Dogg – I think this is a very different situation here. I think it’s fair to say I always accepted that Miller flashed obvious edge rush ability. My biggest concerns – and why I graded him out of the top-ten – were to do with whether he’d replicate his success at the next level given his size (would speed alone be enough?) and whether, if you were a 4-3 team, you wanted to spend such a high pick on a transitional guy if you believed (like many did) he had to switch to OLB in that scheme. Denver have been quite creative and used him in different looks in fairness, maybe I imagined a bit too much of a ‘black or white’ situation there. However, he wasn’t a tweener. I always believed his best role would be OLB, I just felt cautious drafting not just the position in the top-10, but also a guy who would need to learn the role. Ingram is a different situation because we’re not talking about an elite speed pass rusher who might not abuse lineman quite so easily in the pro’s or make a seamless switch to OLB. We’re talking about a guy who’s quick in college but too big for the LEO, too small for the 3-tech and can’t play linebacker. What is his role? A player who isn’t elite in any aspect without a defined position. Nobody ever doubted Von Miller had speed, I only doubted whether it’d be enough.

    Derek – I will do a bigger piece on Brockers. Polk is a late first, early second round player IMO. I think there’s a fair chance Holmgren and Cleveland see Rg3 as the shot in the arm that franchise needs. However, right now I’m leaning towards them going in a different direction and finding a QB elsewhere. I could easily see Holmy falling for Trent Richardson with that #4 pick.


    Rob, I know that you don’t discuss free agents to a great extent and instead focus on the draft (as you should on this site), but have you looked at who is available in free agency that would fit our needs on the D-line? I just don’t see us getting what we need in the draft, unless there is a sleeper in the 3rd or 4th round that JS and PC have identified like they did with KJ.

  11. NMD

    I really like Melvin Ingram as a prospect for Seattle. He seems like a rich man’s Raheem Brock, he’s shorter but more athletic and lankier. I understand he’s a tweener but it seems this defense is full of misfit sized players. Also, I think it’s good to have a rotating D-line where like with Brock 2 seasons ago where Ingram can sub for Clemons, line up opposite of Clemons, or right next to Clemons. Granted, I was really high on Ingram when I thought Seattle would be drafting 19 or 20, and 11-12 is really high for a rotational player so a trade down would be ideal (I agree the most likely is if that last OT is there before the Cardinals pick). But if the QB isn’t worth drafting at that point and the LB’s at that spot have just as many question marks, I don’t have a problem taking a guy Carroll could use in a variety of spots to put pressure on the QB.

  12. Rob

    I’ve not gone through the list extensively, USAFANARC, but obviously there are the big names (Mathis, Williams, Avril) but it’s hard to say who will be franchised. There’s some talent going to be available – but I also wouldn’t bet against JS and PC pulling another rabbit out of the hat ala Browner, Clemons etc.

  13. Nate Dogg

    Rob – Thanks for the response and good points. The not elite in any one aspect was the big thing that stood out for me as well when comparing Ingram to Miller.

    The only thing that really interests me about Ingram is that, like you said in your post, what Seattle is looking for in an edge rusher is likely going to be a rotational player. It might not be a big enough role to justify spending a high first round pick on. Do you think that they could levereage Ingram’s tweenerness in different roles for different situations to make up for that? He could fill Brocks’ role, replace Red or provide interior pass rush on obvious passing downs and fill in for Clemons, allowing them to stand Clemons up as a linebacker (something he’s pretty good at in spots) to either mix up their pass rush or get bigger in short yardage situations. It seems like Seattle might value the flexibility Ingram could bring if they’re stuck at 11/12 in a pretty weak draft.

  14. Jim Q.

    RE: Rush LB/DE’s/DT’s
    I’m having difficulty understanding how many scouting reports, player rankings and many of the mock draft makers and draft guru’s decide how to rank players in the mid to later rounds particularly. I know that “level of competition”, “scheme”, “potential” and injuries, etc. factor into these evaluations significantly. I’m also aware that many people say that statistics aren’t worth a darn, yadda, yadda, but I can’t help but feel that some players “fall through the cracks”. If statistics are indeed worthless why are they kept to begin with?

    I don’t understand how some players get ranked so very low when they have had really good seasons statistically. Yes, I know – watch the films, but as you know that’s not always possible. I know many feel that statistics aren’t worth a damn, yadda, yadda, yadda. Here is one example of what I would call a currently undervalued player: (I think he’s worth at least a Rd-6/7 slot.)

    Sammy Brown, 6-2, 240, 4.75/40, Houston
    (currently ranked #288-overall at
    —-2011-Season: 75 tackles (56 solo), 30 tackles for loss for 130 yards, 13.5 sacks for loss of 86 yards, 17 QB hurries, 3 passes defended.
    —-2010-Season: 60 tackles (43 solo), 20 tackles for loss for 80 yards, 7.5 sacks for loss of 47 yards, 6 QB hurries, 2 forced fumblesw, 1 pass defended.

    Others I’m concerned about: DT-Dominick Hamilton, CB-Desmond Marrow, DE-Coradarro Law, OLB-Miles Burris WR/PR-Devon Wylie, OG-Joel Foreman, any several others that I think are undervalued.

    Perhaps this will change significantly prior to the draft? Is it just an amount of time until the raters, mockers and guru’s catrch up with players? Any light you (or others) can shed would be appreciated.

  15. MLT

    My gut tells me its either a trade down and get osweiller @ like 16-20 range! Or go with the your thinking of a playmaking wr! In your mock you have dwight jonees slipping far down! I feel he is well worth the 11 or 12 pick! Maybe blackmon is still there also! With the db’s having to worry about sidney and 1 of those guys, all the time I think it gives us more 1 on 1 matchups and the whole offense thrives! Miller especially or carlson would have a lot of LB matchups that would really help tarvaris! Plus we wouldn’t see a lot of stacked boxes and lynch would thrive even more! I love the idea of playmaker!!

  16. David

    honestly if we could trade up and get Griffin ( maybe 2 1sts and a 2nd if thats seen as a fair deal) id love it, that would leave mid round picks for us to get pass rushers, were most are slated and should be picked, i still like Frank Alexander (DE OU), but i dont think he has alot of speed which is what Pete is looking for on the D-line and linebacker corp.

  17. David

    but if Osweiler has the potential to be a good player, i wouldnt mind him if we trade back getting more picks which is what i think would happen.

    i still think trading back with Cincy would be the trade we’d focus on and they might like (trading our 11/12 for their 17th and other picks of course) and then inturn they can use our pick and their 21st to get Richardson, i think they need a good RB Benson isnt an elite back and neither is Bernard Scott. I think that could be a viable option thats if they’re interested, who wouldnt be though? haha

  18. James

    I can’t get on board with Ingram in round 1. I like him – in particular his motor and the fact he seems to make big plays – but he seems to me like a classic value pick, a guy who will fall because of precisely the issues outlined in this article. If he does fall and he’s there in the 2nd then that would be great value, and the challenge would then be to scheme him into a role in which he can be productive.

    I’d see him as a more or less like-for-like Raheem Brock, who could be our LDE on obvious passing downs; but could also be used to spell Clemons (especially on run plays) or at a push lined up inside if we wanted to get more ‘stunty’. I think there are ways to get him into the rotation – but it’s almost a case of you shouldn’t be having to work that hard with a 1st round pick. In the 2nd it would be a different story.

  19. Doug

    I think you hit the nail on the head with Holmy wanting Trent Richardson. I think he sees another Shaun Alexander in him, only tougher.
    Not feeling Melvin either, but I understand the format here.
    I see pc/js going with BPA this year, and I will NOT be surprised to see them take a O-line spot, contrary to others saying “no way”.

    Getting another WR is also not out of the equation. Earlier on in this process I didn’t like the Kendall Wright pick, but that one has really grown on me lately. I keep having visions of DShawn Jackson, or Wallace in Pitt streaking around with lightening bolts shooting out their rear end. One of the deals with that elite speed is fear from the DB’s. Can you imagine some 4 receiver sets with Rice, Rocket, Wright, and Baldwin? Good God man, that is really frightening to see 4 guys that can take it to the house at the same time.

    BPA, because so many positions can be “bought” during FA, but getting first shot at this years crop of youngsters cannot be had any other way.

  20. Colin

    I am really intrigued by Courtney Upshaw playing for Seattle, but where do you play him? My gut says Hawthorne or Hill leaves, Hawthorne being the odd man out due to his knee injuries, but he’s still a heck of a MLB. Hate to see him go. Seattle has to get faster in the front 7, which also includes getting a better DE and DT to rush.

  21. Rob

    Natedogg – I think that’s a great point in terms of finding a ‘jack of all trades’ type who can play those roles. However, I think I’d be surprised if they spent the #11 or #12 there. They need to keep hitting on high picks, and it seems a bit risky on a player without one defined role. If a player like Jarvis Jones was available I’d be more inclined to say they’d take the risk, but Ingram? Not so sure.

    Jim Q – I think a lot of it is based around how production is generated, circumstance, opponents etc. Sammy Brown needs to add some size, he’s physically not at the level you’d expect for a NFL linebacker/situational rusher. He has nice instincts, but his effectiveness as a rusher may be compromised with greater size. I think he’s worth a flier earlier than R6-7 though.

    James – completely agree.

  22. Jim Q.

    Rob, I still don’t get it about how production is generated, circumstances, opponents, etc. effect a player ranking so significantly. Sammy Brown is currently ranked at #288 overall.

    As to size he’s supposed to be 6-2, 240 with long arms. (scouting report link=

    Size comparison :
    Zack Brown, 6-2, 230, ranked 33-overall at
    Lavonte Davis, 6-1, 225, ranked 41-overall at
    Bruce Irvin, 6-2, 245, ranked 57-overall at

    All of the above, I believe, you have included in your weekly mocks as Seahawks picks and they are similar (or smaller) in size to Brown. Sorry, I still don’t get how a #288-overall rating equates to anything higher than a round 6/7 pick, if that.

    My best guess is that because there are hundreds of players to evaluate and
    the post season games, combine results, interviews, individual workouts, etc. play such a significant role that some players start out in the 200-300+ overall rating area but then after all of the data is available they get “found” and move up in the rankings, maybe? Personally, I just want to see more pass rush and I guess I just don’t see how some players get so overlooked in the draft.

  23. Ely

    I like the idea of taking a wide reciever if the Hawks are unable to trade up or down. Unfourtuately the pool of talet at that position seems to be the deepest on both the draft board and the Hawks roster. I wonder if the Rams would entertain a trade of Sidney Rice and our current #1 for the chance to draft RG3? They need a reciever badly and that leaves them ahead of Arizona to possibly get one of the OL prospects they badly need. An in-division trade like that is scary but the Hawks have to get serious about securing their QB of the future.

  24. williambryan

    I love Ingram for the seahawks, even at the 11th pick. I am a Steve Spurrier fan and have watched wuite a few SC games this year and Ingram always stands out. I see that maybe he isn’t a perfect fit with the Hawks scheme but I think great football players are great in any scheme as Pat Shurmur recently said. Is Ingram that great of a player to transcend shceme? I guess you are going to say no, but I’m not so sure. He reminds me a little bit of Julius Peppers. I think Peppers had the ability to make an impact in several different positions and subsequently has become one of the best DE’s of our generation. I’m not saying Ingram has that ceiling, but I do think he can be an impact player in the league and I would love for him to be on the Seahawks, making an impact for us.

  25. williambryan

    I also think Ingram has played vastly superior to Jarvis Jones, who you mocked as a top 10 pick. I watched Georgia vs LSU and he was a complete non factor and there were two or three other Bulldog defenders that popped off the screen (CB Boykins was one and the Middle backer was the other). Obviously Jones had the sack numbers and a defined position. But I don’t think he impacts games like Ingram does. But thats just my sense from watching a few complete games of theres this year, not necessarily the highlight films.

  26. Scott

    I do think Ingram would fit what Seattle is doing.
    First, I have no idea where we arrived at the ideal size for the LEO position. That role at USC has been filled by athletes ranging in size from Brian Cushing to Everson Griffen. Between Seattle and USC, Pete has had some pretty different sized players at the spot, not all lean. Pete has publicly said that the guy has to be one of the best athletes on the field. Ingram has the reputation at SC as being one of their best, and most versatile, athletes. When he drops into coverage and makes the interception in one of those above clips, the athleticism is pretty clear.

    2nd, he is as big as Carl Klug, and Klug is pass rushing from the DT spot effectively. Ingram isn’t smaller than Clinton McDonald, who has seen the field in Seattle at DT in pass rushing situations. Ingram looks to me like he would be just as effective as Klug has been at penetrating.

    3rd, Ingram plays the run very well. He does not have to be a situational player. He could move inside in clear pass rushing situations. He give Seattle options and versatility.

    Now, if you want to make the argument that Ingram isn’t fast enough to play the LEO position, there might be something to that. But size? He is only marginally different in size than Derrick Morgan, and a better athlete. Plenty of people thought Derrick Morgan fit this team.

    No matter what was said about his draft stock last year, the 2010 footage shows a player just like 2011.

  27. Rob

    Hi Scott,

    I think it’s fair to say many people – myself included – really had no idea what defensive scheme Seattle would use prior to the 2010 draft. We were told 4-3, and therefore Morgan was obviously an option as an orthodox end. If Morgan were part of this draft, I’d be arguing he’s probably not an ideal fit for the LEO.

    In terms of length, I’m making that comment because the league generally prefers pass rushers to be leaner and tall rather than short and squat off the edge. I also appreciate they drafted Dexter Davis – albeit much later than round one – and he’s only 6-1 and seemingly being earmarked to play the LEO. I’m happy to concede this point, but I will stress that I don’t expect the Seahawks to ever draft a ‘LEO’ in round one unless they are truly considered to be a top-end rusher that will seriously upgrade Chris Clemons. That is not Melvin Ingram.

    Karl Klug is a bit taller than Ingram, but for me looks like more of your Logan Harrell type interior lineman than Melvin Ingram. We also have to remember here that Klug is a 5th round pick who had a good rookie year, but he ultimately went that late in the draft because he didn’t look like an orthodox player for his position. That has to come into consideration when projecting how teams will view Ingram.

    I don’t think highlighting Clinton McDonald is enough evidence to say a player like Ingram is a fit in Seattle’s offense – they’ve gone big up front. While I accept Ingram can move inside on obvious passing downs, where does he play after that? They aren’t giving up Red Bryant any time soon and Chris Clemons is hardly the problem here. So where does he fit? The WILL? This is the problem – not that we can’t locate specialist roles for a guy like Ingram or that he doesn’t fit in every single scenario, but where is he going to play on a bog standard, run of the mill play call?

    And I wouldn’t dispute the tape looks similar, but whatever people are saying about him in 2011 – they weren’t saying twelve months ago. His decision to stay in school as a 5th year senior barely registered.

  28. Scott

    I concede all that. However, even in the first round, Pete has already shown a willingness to go outside his own size preferences for a playmaker. And in the first round no less, with Earl Thomas.

    If Ingram was a situational player, I agree, don’t take him in the first. I just see him as a player who can line up at different positions with different roles on all three downs.

    Chris Clemons will be a 31 year old DE who relies on his footspeed. He may not be the problem now, but he could turn into one in a short time period. Having a player on the roster who can replace him would not be a bad thing, especially if that player can provide pass rush up the middle in pass situations in the meantime.

    I am pimping Ingram right now, but the truth is I still want to see ten yard splits, arm length, stuff like that before I am sold on him. But watch the video of him just abusing James Carpenter last year before you dismiss him. He does it the same exact way Von Miller did in the preseason. Push the big man back, shoot inside, squish quarterback. And that was with Carpenter at his natural left position.

  29. Rob

    I’d like to make a couple of further points Scott, firstly a question. Let’s bring Ingram onto the 2011 Seahawks roster. Where does he feature on a standard non-specific play call in your eyes? Clemons occupies the LEO and Carroll wants to maintain the size up front with Bryant, Branch and Mebane. Where does he feature? This is ultimately why I’m struggling here because while I accept you could find different ways to get him involved, there’s no obvious position whre he will play the majority of downs. Essentially if I’m taking a guy in round one – I want the fact he’s versatile to be a bonus, not his definition. I firmly believe that unless you view him as the LEO pass rusher, he’s a tweener – and that bothers me enough to voice this concern. It just seems to me that you’d end up scripting plays to accomodate him and justify the pick. It’s a first down, where do we put Ingram to get him involved? etc etc. I’d like it to be more obvious than that, with the ability to get flexible and offer different looks more of an added extra.

    On Clemons, I actually think we’re in the middle of his peak and while he’s certainly not going to be viable for years to come, it’s a non-vital replacement right now and a position that can eventually be replaced by a rookie or inexperienced player. I also think the very nature of the position affords the ability to find cheaper role players. We plucked Clemons out of obscurity and made him a double digit sack player. Perhaps replacing him in round one in the future will be deemed a necessity, but right now for a player who does carry some element of mystery it just seems like a bad move – but that’s just my take. All opinions are welcome and certainly yours is valued in this debate.

  30. Scott

    Rob, I don’t usually try to place the rookie on the field unless he really wins the job in his first season. But Ingram immediately could replace Clinton Mcdonald/Anthony Hargrove as a 3rd down DT, or replaces Brock as well on 3rd down. He can do both. His first season I don’t make him the Leo unless he earns it, which I doubt he does. But I already think he is a better run stopper than Clemons, so there is the possibility that Clemons becomes the situational pass rusher and Ingram is the Leo. Chris Clemons is a free agent after 2012, so having his replacement on the roster with a year of experience makes sense. Clemons is due 3.8 million in 2012, and signing a pass rusher going on 32 to more than yearly deals after that won’t make tons of sense. Certainly, having Clemons be the situational pass rusher like Brock could make sense as he ages. Personally, I think this front office wants to be in the position of replacing players a year before there is a need than the year after, like with say Ruskell and Kearney.

    I see his versatility as a plus, not part of his tweener label. Dude is a pass rusher, first and foremost. He has moves some pass rushers never learn, and he has some power Clemons may never have. That spin move up the middle is amazing.

    I think this may be a moot point, his ability to drop into coverage or rush may make him coveted by a 3-4 team as an OLB.

    Clemons was not plucked from anywhere, he and a 4th rounder were gotten in exchange for a 2nd rounder, Daryll Tapp. And if Melvin Ingram puts up speed numbers similar to Tapp at the combine, I will drop any notion that he fits in Seattle. To me, that is the million dollar question. Also, free agency might just make all of us stop talking about DE.

    I do enjoy this theoretical exercise, though.

  31. j

    good article better entries on by readers. i think its essential we try and get someone to pass rush hopefully in the interior of the defense alongside clemons. if we lose clemons due to an injury… not going to say it. our entire defense will not work out

  32. Rob

    Scott – I disagree completely about the approach from this front office. Carroll has clearly stated he expects first round picks to contribute immediately – and Okung, Thomas and Carpenter all started in week one, year one. I suspect the one area they make an exception to this is possibly quarterback because of the nature of the position.

    The suggestion you make regarding Ingram’s immediate and future role I just find completely underwhelming and unrealistic. Chris Clemons is 30-years-old and doesn’t turn 31 until the 30th October. You’re going to write off a guy with 22 sacks in the last two years at the age of 31 and turn him into a specialist or let him walk? That’s an area we need to look at this year? If he maintains his level of production in 2012 – and I’ve no reason to believe he won’t – then I’m not writing him off simply because he turned 31 during the season. For what it’s worth, Jared Allen is a few months older than Clemons and I’m not convinced Minnesota will be preparing to move on after the 2012 season.

    In terms of the deal that brought him to Seattle, I don’t know many people who had any kind of optimism about Chris Clemons before he came to Seattle. He was a guy with one mildly productive season in Oakland in 2007. He wasn’t part of some supreme deal here, he was someone Seattle identified as being able to fill a specialist role, unwanted by his current team, and kudos for finding someone like that – from obscurity – who could do a job. I suspect there’s a chance that’s how this front office will always view the LEO position – an area you can look for certain specialist skills and find value without spending the top end pick. If ‘DeMarcus Ware 2’ is available one year, well the situation changes perhaps. But until that guy crops up, I think they’ll always see it as a bit of a niche position that can be tactically filled with guys like Chris Clemons. I don’t think ‘LEO of the future’ is a concept that’ll ever be part of the FO’s plan.

    On the whole Tweener label – ‘Pass rusher’ isn’t a position in the NFL, and this is why I use the word. It’s impossible to place the guy in a standard play call. Versatility on it’s own makes you a tweener and as discussed, I want to be able to first and foremost place the guy in one defined role before I start moving him around.

    I appreciate this team wants to improve it’s overall speed among the front seven and also improve the pass rusher. However, this would surprise me even more than Tyson Alualu going #10 overall in 2010.

  33. ivotuk

    Love your work Rob.

    I have to disagree with your thesis though. I love Melvin Ingram more than any other D Lineman out there. He has the heart and desire (something a great player cannot do without), not to mention athleticism. Melvin (6’2″ 276#) close to Clemons size (6’3″ 254#) and carries the extra weight very well. He is quick and light on his feet and the few times I’ve seen him drop in to coverage he has played the ball very well. And you can say the same thing about Ingram that you can about many offensive players, “He is a threat to score any time he gets the ball.” You could put him in on goal to go situations and hand him the ball and at 276 pounds, he’s bigger than Brandon Jacobs.

    He does have some pretty decent talent around him at South Carolina with Clowney, Quarles and Devin Taylor but he definitely outclasses them all. IMHO, he plays smart too. He follows the play but doesn’t just run full tilt around the field and get out of position. He also gauges whether or not he can get to the play and takes good angles.

    Not sure where he is going to go at, but I”m hoping that we can trade back, still pick him up then maybe trade up in the 2nd to get Osweiler.

    Thanks for your site, I appreciate your hard work and for providing us with a forum to discuss draft content.

  34. Jake

    Like many others here I love Ingram. He doesn’t just flash on tape he is consistently involved on every big play. So far it seems that our FO is after players that are special and unique. That is Ingram. He is significantly more athletic than Upshaw and could rush from anywhere on the field. I think PC would love a toy like Ingram and the flexibility a great athlete provides.

    @Rob – Comparing positional sizes and defining his role is an archaeic practice that PC does not perscribe to. We have more “freaks-of-nature” than anyone in the NFL. Melvin Ingram could impact this team at two or more positions. My main point against your argument is: While he may not be a “starter” rotating in multiple positions would allow him to log starter’s minutes.

  35. Rob

    Hey Jake,

    I appreciate that sentiment and certainly I think the Seahawks would be happy to have players who can slip into different roles. However, I’m just not convinced they will take a player like Ingram at #11 or #12. I think we can all acknowledge where the guy could play, but I keep coming back to not appreciating where he’s going to line up on a standard down. Unless they’re going to use more 3-4 concepts, he isn’t playing DT on first down, PC likes the size he has with the front three and Clemons is still very much an integral part of the defense. I just think when it comes to spending a top-15 pick, they’ll be looking for someone with a more defined role in the team. Just my take, but I wouldn’t rule out guys like Ingram with any of the other picks.

  36. Jake

    Hey Rob, thanks for the reply. On Ingram, we’ll agree to disagree. The only guy I like better (besides Luck) is RGIII. I think our defense needs another playmaker (to pair with Clemons) in the front 7 and no LB is worth a top 12 pick. His role is easy to define: kill quarterbacks and penetrate upfield to disrupt the run game. He’s a lean 265, so he could probably play at around 285-290. I also don’t think we’re necessarilly committed to Alan Branch at 3-tech. He just doesn’t give anything as a passrusher.

  37. Rob

    I’m looking forward to seeing how PC improves the front seven, Jake, having revealed it is a priority in his end of season press conference. Going to be interesting to see how this plays out. And I’m delighted we’ve had such a wide range of views on Ingram. One of the great positives of being able to publish tape on the blog is it allows people to make up their own minds and have a strong opinion on guys like this.

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