INDIANAPOLIS — A good performance at the NFL combine can vault a player up the draft boards, while a bad showing can push someone into the middle rounds.
For former Richmond Senior star Melvin Ingram and the other 57 defensive linemen, Monday was their day to shine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Even though Memphis defensive tackle Dontari Poe turned the most heads with a time of 4.98 seconds in the 40-yard dash and a combine-best 44 reps in the 225-pound bench press, many experts believe Ingram solidified his spot as the top defensive end in April’s draft.
Ingram ran the 40 in 4.79 seconds, which tied for eighth-best among defensive linemen. He was second in the three-cone drill at 6.83 seconds and was third in the short shuttle with a time of 4.18.
“I just tried to come out here and do my best and the results will take care of themselves,” Ingram said to former NFL star Warren Sapp during the NFL Network’s broadcast. “Give it your hardest, you have to do what these coaches say because they are your future. I’m just coming out here and trying to do my all on every drill.”
Ingram added the interview process was one of the more difficult things he had to encounter this week.
“It seems like I interviewed with 64 teams,” Ingram said. “People never told me they were so intense in there. They want to see how you react. I just tried to stay calm and be me, because that’s the only person I know how to be.”
Ingram, a first-team All-America at South Carolina this fall, is projected to be selected in the middle part of the first round.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com