Draft 2012: South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider senior editor
~The Packers pass rush last year did two things well.
First, they made opposing QB’s feel very comfortable back in the pocket. Second, they made the Packers coverage units look a lot worse than they really are.
There’s no denying the Packers have to upgrade their pass rush in 2012. How much has to come from the ROLB spot, and how much has to come from the DL spots remains open to debate. But somehow, somewhere, it has to get better.
This is the first in a serious of looks at possible guys in the upcoming draft who could help out in this area.
South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram is a guy who won’t be there at pick 28 when the Packers are on the clock, so as with the pick of Clay Matthews in 2009, it would take a trade up to obtain Ingram.
He’s in the 270-pound range, similar to the Steelers Lamar Woodley. Bigger than Clay Matthews by about 30 pounds, he’d be a great complement to Matthews over at the right outside linebacker spot.
A few weeks ago, Melvin sat down with Draft Countdown’s Scott Wright for a quick Q & A:
Draft Countdown: Let’s start off with a hard-hitting question: What is the most embarrassing song on your iPod?
Melvin Ingram: I really don’t have any embarrassing songs. I listen to a lot of Rocko, Wayne, Bootsie and Yo Gotti.
Draft Countdown: You played defensive end at South Carolina and some teams are projecting you to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. Do you have a preference?
Melvin Ingram: Whatever they want me to play. I feel like I could be a dominant football player at any position they put me so there’s really not a position that I prefer.
Draft Countdown: How would you describe your game to someone that’s never seen you play? What would you say are your strenghts and weaknesses?
Melvin Ingram: I’m a passionate football player. I describe myself as a passionate football player. I try to go out and give my all on every single play. Try to gut myself. That’s how I want to be remembered, as the person who gave it his all on every play.
Draft Countdown: Weaknesses?
Melvin Ingram: I don’t feel like I have a weakness, I just try to work on every aspect of my game. You can never be too good at something so I try to get better at every aspect.
Draft Countdown: South Carolina had a unique situation at defensive end last year, with you, a guy who many feel has first round potential in Devin Taylor and an extremely high-profile recruit in Jadeveon Clowney. In fact, you were probably the least hyped member of that group before the season. You certainly emerged as a leader and people knew your name when all was said and done, but was there any adversity in terms of minutes or playing time?
Melvin Ingram: No, there was never any adversity or anything like that. There was never fighting for playing time. I was always going to work hard no matter who came in. If a little baby came in and was going to play on our team I was still going to work hard. I knew what I could do, I just had to show the world.
Draft Countdown: In what ways were you a leader on the Gamecocks defense?
Melvin Ingram: I feel like I’m a great leader. My momma always told me anybody can lead by just saying something, but a real leader would lead by example. I try to lead by example and let everyone feed off my energy.
Draft Countdown: What current NFL player do you compare favorably to?
Melvin Ingram: I try to compare myself to Ray Lewis. I feel like he plays football the right way. I feel like there is a wrong and right way to play football and he plays the right way. He plays with such passion and energy on every play, I feel like he puts it all out on the line on every play so I try to be known as a player like him.
Draft Countdown: How would you describe personality? Is it different on the field?
Melvin Ingram: On the field I’m a totally different person. I’m a mad man on the field. Off the field I’m a people person. I’m a loveable guy, I try to make friends every day.
Draft Countdown: What is your greatest football accomplishment to date?
Melvin Ingram: Just being able to wake up everyday and play football.
Draft Countdown: What are you going to do when your playing career is over?
Melvin Ingram: I still want to be around football. Coach or something.
Draft Countdown: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
Melvin Ingram: Ray Lewis. He’s been my favorite player ever since I can remember.
Draft Countdown: Who is the best opposing player you faced during your college career? What offensive lineman was the toughest to beat?
Melvin Ingram: I feel like I went against a lot of great players. I don’t know if there is anyone who stands out. I feel like everybody I went against had tremendous talent.
Draft Countdown: Are there any younger players at South Carolina that you see developing into stars, either at the college or pro level?
Melvin Ingram: Of course. Clowney (DE), Marcus Lattimore (RB), D.J. Swearinger (S), DeVonte Holloman (LB), Devin Taylor (DE). We have a lot of people that are going to play in the NFL. Akeem Auguste (CB). Vic Hampton (CB). I feel like my whole defense and my whole team will one day play in the NFL.
Draft Countdown: What current pro are you looking forward to going up against in the NFL? Is there an offensive lineman that you want to test your skills against?
Melvin Ingram: Everybody. I’m a competitive person, I like to compete in everything. I’m just looking forward to the day in / day out good competition.
Draft Countdown: You battled through a foot injury last season. Is that type of toughness something you take pride in? Melvin Ingram: Of course. There’s a difference between being injured and being hurt. Being injured you can’t play. Being hurt you can play. Soreness and being hurt is just weakness leaving the body so as long as you can play, I feel like you should play.
Draft Countdown: What are you hoping to prove to scouts during the pre-draft process?
Melvin Ingram: There isn’t anything in particular that I’m trying to prove. If there is something that people don’t think I can do, I just to show them that I can.
Draft Countdown: It’s still early, but do you have any goals in mind for the NFL Draft?
Melvin Ingram: Just to be drafted.
Full interview here