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The Seahawks own the #12 overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Signing Matt Flynn, Red Bryant, Jason Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Breno Giacomini, and Paul McQuistan has left the team with the luxury of picking the best player that falls to them. This series will explore some possible selections, and how they could impact the team.
DE Melvin Ingram
OG David DeCastro
MLB Luke Kuechly
DE Courtney Upshaw
LB Lavonte David
WHAT DOES HE BRING?
Ingram appears to be the best pure pass rusher in the draft. If his arms were 2-3 inches longer and/or he was 2-3 inches taller, he’d be a certain Top 5 selection. The jokes about his “T-Rex” arms and in-between measurables make it possible that he could slide to the Seahawks. Length is seen as a key factor in determining whether a college pass rusher can translate to an NFL pass rusher where offensive tackles regularly stand 6’5″ or taller and can push most edge rushers right past the quarterback. Watch Ingram in pass rush drills, or in a game, and it becomes clear that he finds the quarterback on instinct, not a physical measurement. He effortlessly swims outside, spins inside, and clubs his way around offensive lineman. He can play inside or outside, and some even project him as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Quinton Coples is considered the prototype defensive end, but Ingram crushes him on every down effort and natural football instincts. Coples could be great if he cared. Ingram cares to be great.
Ingram has the tools to be the Defensive Rookie Of The Year if he is given the chance to rush the passer regularly and play in a rotation. Registering 10+ sacks in his first season would not be a shock, and he could become the heir apparent to Chris Clemons at the LEO spot by next year. Coupling Ingram’s ability to rush for the edge with Jason Jones’ ability to penetrate inside and Clemons coming from the opposite side could completely transform the Seahawks pass rush package. Ingram swinging inside to work with Jones can also work if someone like Dexter Davis emerges as a rush end. It would not be out of the realm of possibilities to see Clemons, Jones and Ingram combine to challenge the Seahawks team total of 33 sacks last season. Scoring Ingram would also allow the team to focus on linebacker, running back, and quarterback in later rounds.
Ingram is not going to fail in the NFL. He could wind up as a more limited pass rusher due to the being overwhelmed physically by NFL lineman. Imagine a player like Darryl Tapp, who gives everything on each down, but fails to dominate. Ingram is a more natural pass rusher than Tapp, so where Tapp nets 2-5 sacks per year, Ingram’s floor is probably 4-8 sacks per year. He would still be a valuable member of the defense, but would not be a starter, and would be more complimentary. This would leave the team in a bind next season when Clemons hits free agency at an age the Seahawks would be unlikely to pay him top dollar for his services. Seattle would be back at square one in terms of finding their future LEO.