During tonight’s NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell will be handed a blue note card with Melvin Ingram’s name on it.
When Goodell walks to the podium to announce which team picked Ingram, the former Richmond Senior standout will make history and will be the first Raider to be selected in the first round of the draft.
Experts are predicting Ingram to be picked somewhere between No. 7 (Jacksonville) and No. 16 (New York Jets). However, the former Gamecock could slide up or down the draft board depending on possible trades.
Or if a team listens to the rumors which are always floating around this time of year, then Ingram may not be picked until the later part of the first round.
All because some general manager or scout made a comment that Ingram’s arms are “too short for his body.”
Generally, when something like that becomes a focus, it means that person making the statement works for a team which is hoping Ingram falls to them later in the draft. Or they are trying to get a division rival to go in another direction.
When the rumor mill gets flowing, it is usually about character issues, off the field problems or a question about their work ethic. Not about how long a player’s arm, fingers, neck, leg or toes are compared to the rest of their body.
It is understandable for a team, which is about to make a multi-million dollar investment in a player, to subject them to every test and prod them in every nook and cranny. Teams don’t want to pick the next Tim Couch or Ryan Leaf and realize it let the next Tom Brady slip away.
Perhaps Ingram’s short arms jumped into the headlines because in today’s 24-hour news cycle, websites needed something to write about and why not talk about the top defensive end going into the draft.
Everyone had written all there needed to be said about Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, Trent Richardson and Morris Claibourne. Someone had to say something about Ingram and it is always better to focus on a negative this time of year.
In the end, it won’t matter if Ingram’s arms are too short, too long or just right because he will hear his name tonight and join the ranks of the NFL.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com