Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka. The Giants fabled “Nascar” package terrorized offenses in the playoffs last year during the path to a championship, their second built on the backs of a cadre of speed rushers.

The Giants aren’t alone. The importance of pressuring the quarterback cannot be overstated in the pass heavy league the NFL has become. It leads teams to reach for projects who may not have the typical outstanding college resume for a high pick (still having a tough time getting over you, Aaron Maybin).

The University of South Carolina’s Melvin Ingram, the highest rated pass rusher this year, is  projected to play as an edge linebacker or defensive end who can also move inside to tackle on passing downs – much like JPP did early in his career. Whether Ingram is adequate enough at stopping the run will determine if he’s limited to playing in clear passing situations in his first year.

Vitals

Height: 6’1

Weight: 264 Pounds

Class: Senior

Born: April 26, 1989

Combine Numbers

40-yard dash: 4.79

Vertical jump: 34.5 inch

Broad jump: 109 inch

Bench Press: 28 reps at 225

Three cone drill:  6.83

20-yard shuttle: 4.18

Arm length: 31 1/2′ inches

Hands: 9 5/8′ inches

College Stats

2011:  13 GP  48  Tackles  15 Tackles For Loss  10 Sacks

2010: 14 GP  28  Tackles  11 Tackles For Loss  9 Sacks

2009: 11 GP  16  Tackles  3.5 Tackles For Loss  1 Sack

2008: Red Shirted

2007: 12 GP  17 Tackles   1 Tackle For Loss  1 Sack

What the experts say

National Football Post

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.

 Walter Football

Ingram had an excellent Combine to continue his climb up draft boards. He ran extremely fast, and was phenomenal in the field work. Ingram was extremely fluid and effortless moving around the field. He proved that he is capable of playing 3-4 OLB at the next level. At the Senior Bowl, Ingram was dominant in pass rushing one-on-ones. He has fabulous speed to go along real power. Ingram bull rushed linemen while also blazing by them around the corner. He has a good rip move and spin move to beat offensive linemen. The redshirt senior is a special athlete.

Mike Mayock

He’s one of those guys kind of like Justin Tuck, where you can have fun with him. ”And he’s shown he has the aptitude to learn all those different positions.

Rob Rang

Blessed with extraordinarily light feet for a 6-2, 276-pound man, Ingram’s impressive agility made him a star at defensive tackle for the Gamecocks in 2011. His athleticism is good enough, in fact, to make the transition to defensive end or even outside linebacker in the 3-4 in the NFL. Ingram’s stock is limited by the fact that he has very short arms (30½ inches), which could limit his ability to break free of blocks at the next level.

Russ Lande

Ingram came to Indianapolis battling Courtney Upshaw for top outside linebacker and Quinton Coples for top end. His strong showing proved to us that he is the best at both. He displayed the smooth and fluid movement skills, natural explosiveness and balance that excite NFL teams. Combined with his excellent hand use and pass-rush ability, Ingram proved he can be a highly productive 4-3 end or 3-4 outside ‘backer.

Todd McShay

I think he’s the second best talent at defensive end.  There are different versions at defensive end.  The five techniques: the traditional four‑three defensive ends, and the guys that could transition to that outside linebacker position at the next level.  What is interesting is you have two guys in this class in Ingram and in Upshaw from Alabama that are kind of similar.  They don’t necessarily have a perfect fit.  But in this league right now, you don’t have to have a perfect fit.

Ingram continues to impress NFL teams, and his combine workout will push him further north on draft boards. He ran under 4.7 seconds on his first attempt in the 40, which included a quick 10-yard split of 1.65 seconds. Ingram was near flawless in position drills. He displayed great lateral movement skills, lost almost no momentum changing direction and was always on balance. His hands violently struck the bags in defensive line drills and Ingram looked incredibly athletic during linebacker drills. Don’t be surprised if Ingram breaks into the draft’s first 12 picks.
He recorded a 4.79 40-yard dash at 264 pounds, but his drill work actually impressed me the most. Ingram moved well for his size in both the LB and DE drills. He showed good quickness and change of direction.
Before the Combine Ingram was rated behind fellow edge rushers Courtney Upshaw and Quinton Coples. After out performing them at the combine and at his pro day, Ingram has solidified his place at the top of the draft. If Ryan Tannehill is gone at eight, Miami could pair the senior with Cameron Wake to form a daunting pass rush duo.