Ingram’s motor, athleticism and technique allow him to bring dynamic playmaking ability to an NFL defense, whether he lines up at defensive tackle or defensive end.
Some believe he could be moved to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme to rush the passer and overpower offensive tackles. There is a chance he continues rising up boards and is potentially selected in the first round of the draft.
He made 15 tackles, including a sack as a true freshman, even returning five kickoffs for 90 yards. Ingram broke his foot before the 2008 spring game, however, so he redshirted the following fall. He moved from linebacker to defensive end for the 2009 season, playing in all 13 games (one start), making 18 tackles including 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Despite only starting one of 14 games played in 2010, Ingram finished third in the SEC with nine sacks among his 11 tackles for loss.
Scouts like the versatility Ingram shows in the Gamecocks' defense; he line up outside either tackle, move to tackle on third down, and rush the passer standing up inside or off the edge. If he wants to go from his current mid-round grade to a late-rising first round prospect during 2011, however, he must fulfill his potential by showing more consistency using his hands and pressuring tackles off the snap.
Pass Rush: Flashes the closing speed, hustle, and quick hands to beat tackles on the edge. Also fakes outside rush, cuts to inside lane with hands and quickness for direct path. Lines up inside in passing situations, uses quickness to get under pads of guards. Spins off blocks to reach quarterbacks stepping up into the pocket or trying to run.
Runs through tight ends with leverage and strength. Gets most sacks on secondary rushes, lacks elite quickness to win initial battle against better linemen. Occasionally displays flexibility to turn the corner. Flashes good agility and change of direction when staying in front of ballcarriers in space and dropping into zone coverage. Must prove he can stay with running backs in the flat when at linebacker.
Run Defense: Uses low center of gravity and thick upper body to play with leverage against the run game. Holds his ground well whether lined up with his hand down or standing up. Can split double team to penetrate and make the tackle. Often spins off to reach ballcarriers running to either side instead of shock-and-shed on the edge. Most tight ends will not handle him one-on-one.
Explosion: Very inconsistent coming off the snap as a pass rusher, sometimes pressing his man up the field but often being among the last to move. Provides some pop into blockers, jolting and getting under taller tackles' pads to push them backwards.
Strength: Possesses the upper-body strength to play man-up with NFL linemen with his hand on the ground or standing up. Handles most college tight ends on the edge. Flashes hands strong enough to rip off blocks to attack ballcarriers, but must be more consistent to become a true playmaker at the next level. Does not maintain his anchor if turned by better tackles in the hole.
Tackling: Relies on his strength, arm length, and strong hits to stop SEC running backs and quarterbacks in their tracks. Flashes good change of direction ability in space to corral ballcarriers. Leaves his feet and lowers his shoulder too often, though, must wrap to consistently bring down NFL ballcarriers.
Intangibles: Has not yet been a starter at the collegiate level. No known character or work ethic problems. One of five players involved in campus fracas with non-football players in September 2008, no one was charged. Redshirted 2008 season after breaking his foot in an off-the-field incident. Suffered a broken left hand early against Vanderbilt in 2010 but returned to the contest and did not miss any games."
However, he has only average bend sitting into his stance and coiling up, is a bit leggy and doesn't eat up a ton of grass initially off the snap. Despite that, he has the kind of first step burst to at least threaten the corner.
He's at his best using his sudden lateral quickness to counter off his speed rush at full speed, extending his arms with a compact club or arm over to get inside on blockers. Ingram is very quick laterally in tight areas, does a nice job dropping his pad level when he feels the edge and has the lower body strength to power through contact.
Also, he does a nice job playing with leverage as a pass rusher, extending his arms well into contact, catching blockers off balance and overwhelming blockers with the bull rush.
He will line up inside as well and threaten as a one-gap guy. He has a tendency to get upright once he gains a step, but does a nice job slow-playing his rush off the snap and forcing his way up the field.
He does a nice job shedding blocks on the edge in the run game. He'll roll his hips into blocks at times when trying to anchor and at times is slow getting off the football. Awareness is a concern that kept popping up, however, he only started one game and that should improve with more experience.
He can be jolted backward on initial contact, but he's so sudden and uses his long arms well to gain leverage on contact. He is violent when asked to shed and can consistently disengage and work his way toward the football.
Ingram plays off blocks well on the outside and possesses good range chasing the ball in pursuit with a solid motor. He plays with natural leverage and should be able to mature into a very solid run defender if he gives more attention to technique off the snap.
Impression: He is an impressive pass rusher who can get after the QB in a number of ways. Ingram is raw with his technique and can get better, but his suddenness, length and natural feel for the game makes me think he's one of the draft best senior pass rushers."
Is light on his feet with fluid movement skill and loose hips.
Despite limited starting experience, has been a very active producer in a rotational role and has the versatility to rush inside in nickel situations or potentially stand up as 3-4 outside linebacker in an aggressive, odd front such as that of the Steelers.
Projects as a left defensive end for a 4-3 front and has starting-caliber NFL traits.
Still could stand to mature and hone his instincts and stamina, but upside is undeniable."
Short, stocky DE lacks elite closing speed, but is very quick, has excellent lateral agility and is relentless pursuing the ball; tough to block as he plays low to the ground and has the strength to maintain leverage once he gets under an opposing blockers pads; also effective sliding inside on passing downs; not as effective playing the run;
Can hold the point of attack, but doesn’t always find the ball; good athlete was recruited as a LB and actually returned a few kicks as a freshman; missed the entire 2008 season after breaking a foot in an off-field accident;
Versatile player could get some looks as a traditional DE, as well as a 3-4 DE and even a 3-4 rush-LB, although he’s not a particularly good fit physically at any specific position."
Plays with appropriate pad level, has long arms and uses them effectively, keeps himself clean; is difficult to block for the duration of a play as he possesses good strength and can maintain leverage throughout... Very good stack and shed type player who can be violent and disengages well...
Quick laterally, plays fast in tight quarters, has the speed to get around the edge but works best with counter moves to get inside for direct path and power through with good closing speed... Plays with good leverage in running game, has the strength to anchor and can split a double team to make a tackle...
Plays with a solid motor, doesn't take plays off and has good range in pursuit, maintains outside contain and can show off athleticism in backside pursuit... Has experience dropping into coverage, stays compact with his footwork in backpedal, light on his feet with loose, fluid hips; underrated athleticism, was recruited as a linebacker...
Has proven to be extremely versatile, has experience lining up at defensive end and shifting inside to tackle, as well as rushing the passer standing up, is the type of player that can move around and could fit in any scheme... Pass-rushing specialist started just one game in 2010 yet still compiled nine sacks and added 8.5 sacks this season.
Negatives -- Is not the same type of force against the run as he is the pass, can be slow to locate the ball and his technique off the snap could improve; could attribute lack of awareness to lack of starting experience, needs to hone his instincts...
Isn't overly explosive off the snap, a bit inconsistent with snap awareness, can also be pushed back on initial contact... Leaves his feet too often on attempted tackles, a bit of a liability until he learns to consistently wrap up... Missed all of the 2008 season due to an on-campus incident that resulted in a broken foot, but no one was charged...
A tweener who isn't physically fit for a specific position, a little light for defensive tackle and a little short for defensive end, would be best to improvise and use at multiple positions."
The defensive end started just one game as a junior in 2010, but played in all 14 games and led the team with nine sacks.
Ingram is also out front from his Gamecock teammates in both sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (nine) through seven games this year.
A senior who redshirted in 2008 due to a broken foot, Ingram also has two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Ingram has decent size at 6'2'' and 276 pounds, but where he excels is the athleticism department.
As shown by several incredible plays in 2011, the Hamlet, NC native is a top-notch athlete.
He generally runs around a 4.80 in the 40-yard dash, but has been clocked as fast as 4.72 from that distance.
His speed, though, is deceptive and offensive linemen probably think he can run a lot faster than his 40 times.
Ingram has a quick first step and a great nose for the football, but he must improve his tackling and could add some bulk as he heads to the next level."