SAN DIEGO – It was without any fancy handshake that Chargers head coach Norv Turner introduced the team’s 2012 first-round draft pick Melvin Ingram at Friday’s press conference.Ingram, who had turned 23-years-old on the day he was drafted, generated some excitement after giving NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell an intricate handshake Thursday in New York, after it was announced he’d been drafted by the Chargers.“This is a whirlwind deal,” Turner said about drafting Ingram. “There was great anticipation in the draft room when we kept getting closer to our pick and Melvin had not been taken, and then deep excitement when we were able to make our pick,” Turner said.
This is the sixth defensive player the Chargers have drafted over the past eight years. At 6 foot, two inches and 264 pounds, Ingram played defensive end at the University of South Carolina.
Turner said Ingram was the most complete linebacker on their boards at the time and a player that fits the mold of the outside linebackers that the Chargers have played against and had hard times with.
Ingram, who’s been touted as a very versatile and athletic player, said that he’s ready to do whatever the team needs him to do, whether on special teams, as a punt returner, on defense or even giving quarterback Philip Rivers a rest by throwing a few passes, he joked.
Ingram said he doesn’t see himself as a position player, but rather a football player. “I feel like I could play any position on the football field,” he said. “I’m not trying to be cocky; I’m just confident, that’s all.”
As a defensive player, Ingram said that Ray Lewis is one of the players that he’s modeled his game around. “I feel like there’s a wrong way and a right way to play football, and I feel like Ray Lewis plays football the right way. He’s a very passionate player and that’s what I classify myself as,” Ingram said.
That doesn’t mean he’ll be doing any dances coming out of the tunnel, though, Ingram said.
There is still the question of finding a place for him to play – that’s the next step for Ingram and the Chargers.
“The first thing you do is you find one place for him to line up and you get him started and assist him in the basics of what we do and you push as far as you can as far as his learning curve,” Turner said. “The fact that he’s played a lot of positions; the fact that he’s been in a very good system, it just helps him make the transition.”
Turner did say that he thought Ingram could contribute to the team early on. “He’s been a very good player in the kicking game, certainly on third down and pass rush, but he’s a versatile player.”
Ingram said that he hasn’t yet considered all of the quarterbacks he’ll be lining up against, including new Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
Turner said that with Ingram’s speed and his ability to cover ground, that he’s going to help us where we’ve had a tough time with some of these mobile quarterbacks, guys that buy time and getting them on the ground, I think he will really be a plus in that area.
Ingram was the No. 18 player selected in the first-round.