So you drafted Melvin Ingram

By drafting Melvin Ingram, you drafted one of the most versatile defensive playmakers in the draft. Ingram is a super athletic playmaker who can come in and make a difference right away in a bunch of ways. He can play right end, left end, he bulked up to 280 pounds and played defensive tackle last year and he’s athletic and instinctive enough to play any linebacker spot in some schemes.

More after the jump…

What?! A defensive end?! Eagles nation is probably a little confused. Let me help you out.

Well, We Might Actually Need One:

  • Trent Cole is 29 and he turns 30 during the season.
  • Jason Babin is 31 and he turns 32 next month.
  • Brandon Graham has missed half of his games since being drafted thanks to a torn ACL and micro-fracture surgery.
  • Darryl Tapp and Phillip Hunt are nice pieces but they’re nothing more than depth options.

And who remembers what happened when Trent Cole got hurt? Our pass rush suffered. Teams were able to focus on Jason Babin and it almost completely neutralized our pass rush. In two games without Trent Cole the Eagles only put up three sacks. In the other 14 games with Trent Cole the Eagles averaged more than 3 sacks PER GAME.

What happens if we lose a guy? Do we really trust Darryl Tapp, Phillip Hunt and Brandon Graham to replace them? And really, when has ANOTHER pass rusher ever hurt anyone?

Rushing The Passer Creates Wins:

And have you seen the Giants lately? What team has invested more in their pass rush than the two time super bowl champion New York Giants? They’re showing the league how you put together a championship team: pass the ball and stop the pass. They spent a bunch of cash to keep Strahan around, they invested two second round picks in Osi and Justin Tuck and they spent two first round picks on Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre-Paul. And they’ve even invested a good amount in defensive tackles as well, they’ve signed Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard while drafting Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin.

And this isn’t just some perceived “blue print”from the Giants , the numbers support a similar idea: the team that causes the most negative passing plays wins the game.

Negative Pass Play Percentage is one of the indicators we track as part of our Offensive and Defensive Hog Indices. It measures the percentage of snaps that end in a sack or INT, both on offense and on defense.

We broke it out separately in our Correlation to Victory chart this year and it’s pretty interesting. Teams that suffer a lower percentage of Negative Pass Plays won more than 70 percent of games in 2011.

And it should be noted that the teams who created the most negative plays won 80% of the games in the playoffs.

Wreaking havoc on the passer equates to wins. Simple.

Why Melvin Ingram fits:

Despite initial suspicion it has been confirmed that this IS NOT Melvin Ingram.

Melvin Ingram has short arms. Really short arms. People who freaked out about Brandon Graham having 32 inch arms are FREAKING OUT about Melvin Ingram’s 31” arms. But to these people I say: calm the hell down.

There are a couple reasons why Melvin Ingram fits what the Eagles do.

Reason #1 – The Eagles move their pass rushers around

Late in the year the Eagles implemented a package where the defensive tackles lined up out over the offensive tackles and the defensive ends stood up and rushed out of a two point stance from the middle of the defense.

Juan Castillo has proven he isn’t afraid to move his pass rushers around and Melvin Ingram, with his athleticism and talent, could become a big time X factor for Juan Castillo to play around with.

Reason #2 – The Eagles do not play their defensive ends in a traditional way which suits Melvin Ingram

You’ve all been wide nine’d to death, I know. But…

The defensive ends are lined up wider (obviously), which gives them more space to work with; they’re lined up over offensive tackles less than ends on other teams. This means they’re engaging in less hand fighting with offensive tackles (meaning arm length isn’t as big of an issue) and it suits athletic pass rushers who can get upfield really well. Melvin Ingram is that kind of athlete.

Ingram ran the 9th fastest 40 yard dash of any defensive lineman at the draft, his 3 cone drill was second of any defensive lineman behind only Bruce Irvin and his twenty yard shuttle time was 3rd best in the draft. And he had a very impressive 1.62 ten yard split on his 40 yard dash. He’s a really, really good athlete. He has long speed, he has quickness and short area explosion and his range of motion is extremely good for a guy of his size. And when you combine his low center of gravity with his athleticism it allows him to get low and bend around the corner easily.

Melvin. Ingram. Just. Makes. Plays.

In the biggest football conference in the nation, Melvin Ingram produced. In the past two years he put up 76 tackles, 30 tackles for a loss and 19 sacks. And in his banner senior year he put up 48 tackles 9 sacks, 17 tackles for a loss, 2 interceptions, 2 fumbles returned for touchdowns, 2 rushes for 87 yards and 1 rushing touchdown. He was a guy who made all sorts of plays.

That happened.

South Carolina used him at DT, they used him on special teams, he played LE and RE and they even dropped him into coverage and he still did well. He made plays no matter how South Carolina used him.

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