Lots of Potential First-Round Picks for Jags

With Aaron Kampman's future as an elite pass rusher anything but certain and Jeremy Mincey about to test the waters of free agency, it would be in the Jaguars best interests to get younger at defensive end. Find out about this elite rusher who is on Gene Smith's radar.

Although the Jaguars mostly lined up with four man fronts in 2011, they gave a fair amount of hybrid looks. If Jacksonville is going to continue to play a hybrid system, they are going to need a hybrid type of pass rusher. South Carolina's Melvin Ingram is a viable candidate for the Jaguars at the seventh-overall pick in next month's draft.

The 6-foot-1, 264 pound outside linebacker/defensive end is a sudden athlete and a great rusher and he's capable of playing in either a 3-4 or 4-3 system.

"(I can play in) Either one. It really don't matter. As long as I'm on the football field," Ingram said when asked what system suits him best.

Although Ingram's shorter stature may not allow him to be a force batting down balls at the line of scrimmage, maybe that's a good thing. Most defenders that get batted balls are blocked pretty well on those plays and it's a product of fortune. Ingram's size does give him a leverage advantage while bending the edge.

"I feel like it helps me a lot," Ingram responded about his height. "I feel like when I come off the ball I already have leverage. So I just try to counter-move off whatever the offensive linemen do."

Ingram's athleticism knows no bounds as he dabbled in offense and was even on the hands team on special teams while playing for Steve Spurrier at South Carolina.

"Just playing around in practice every day, doing the receiver drills, doing the running back drills. My coach just put me on there," Ingram explained when asked how he made it to the hands team.

Some scouts have compared him to Broncos outside linebacker/defensive end Von Miller, a player he works out with.

"We just try to compete against each other every day," Ingram said when asked about his workouts with the Broncos star. "Obviously, he's the Defensive Rookie of the Year. So I just try to pattern myself after him because I feel like he's had a lot of success in the NFL."

Melvin is trying to be as prepared as possible for any scheme that might await him.

"I've been working at linebacker and defensive end the whole time I've been training," Ingram said.

Ingram doesn't believe that the move from defensive end to linebacker hasn't been that difficult so far.

"It really wasn't a big adjustment," Ingram explained. "It just came to me as second nature."

Melvin does have some experience dropping into coverage.

"I've got a lot of experience," Ingram stated. "I played linebacker my whole freshman year. I played some last year and the year before that."

The former South Carolina star played quarterback, running back and receiver in high school and was a point guard on the basketball team. When asked about Jason Pierre-Paul style of standing back-flips, Melvin responded.

"(I did one) About a week or two ago at Velocity in California."

He was put up to it by workout partner Von Miller.

"He just didn't think I could do it," Ingram said when asked why he did the flip.

Melvin interviewed with the Patriots both at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine.

"It went real good," Ingram said of his interviews. "Every meeting I had went real good. I was just trying to soak up knowledge from everybody. Just trying to gain all the information that everybody had to bring to me."

What type of player and person would the Patriots get with Melvin Ingram?

"They're going to get a hard worker, a passionate player, a leader - vocal and leading by example," Ingram said confidently.

Free agency is a very expensive place to fill needs at premium positions. The Jacksonville front office did a nice job last season finding linebackers and safeties but an elite defensive end will cost nearly as much as all the Jaguars 2011 acquisitions. The way to win championships is to model those who have, and look no further than to the New York Giants, who hit on first-round picks at quarterback, wide receiver and defensive end in recent seasons. The Jaguars need to start filllng their premium needs in the draft and if they do, Melvin Ingram would be a fine pick.

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPNFlorida.com and ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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