Cleveland Browns Free Agents: Making The Case For LB Melvin Ingram

Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) runs out the tunnel in a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2015; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) runs out the tunnel in a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Browns free agents watch: With Jamie Collins  re-signing, the team could really roster the linebacker corps with the signing of Melvin Ingram.

Well, another season has passed. 1-15 is now the starting point for a team with a number of issues.

However, if you’ve been watching the NFC Super Bowl representative Atlanta Falcons, the media makes it seem like Taylor Gabriel and Alex Mack were the answer to all the Cleveland Browns problems.

I know the team has hit rock bottom, but don’t insult the intelligence of NFL fans.

If you’ve read my Dawg House articles–which I apologize for not continuing due to circumstances, fans are aware of my disdain for the linebackers the team has.

In almost every article, I had Christian Kirksey and Demario Davis in the top 3 of potential Dawg House picks or in it. They were atrocious in covering opposing tight ends, and they missed more tackles than they completed.

Kirksey was third in the NFL in total tackles at 148, but just because a player racks up a lot of tackles doesn’t make them elite.

Andra Davis and D’Qwell Jackson both led the team in tackles at one point, but they’ll never be mentioned among Ray Lewis, Luke Kuechly, Brian Urlacher, Patrick Willis, Clay Matthews, etc.  It takes more than making tackles–a lot which were 15 yards down the field.

I think Kirksey is good, but he’s not a premier inside linebacker in the NFL. He might change that sentiment next season under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, but I don’t see it.  The same goes for Davis too.

While inside linebacker has been an issue, outside backer is intriguing. Jamie Collins re-signed with the Browns on Monday for four-years, $50 million. $26 million is guaranteed. If only I didn’t have a bad left knee, I would still give it a go on the field with those prices.

Collins will be the staple at the WILL, or weakside position for years to come hopefully. That still leaves a question at SAM backer, or strongside.

For most of the season, Cam Johnson, Joe Schobert and current New York Jets backer Corey Lemonier played at the strongside position.  Combined, they had 68 tackles and 5.5 sacks. That’s not good production from that position–especially when a majority of the plays involve rushing the passer.

A player that would fill that void is free agent backer Melvin Ingram. In 2016 alone, he had 60 tackles and eight sacks.

He’s one of the most underrated backers in the NFL.. It took him a few years to get to the level he’s at now, but since being drafted by the San Diego/LA Chargers in 2012, he’s been solid.

He has a nose for the ball, and is an above average pass rusher. Ingram is also versatile and impactful with his hand down. He’s strong for his size and is tough for opposing offensive linemen to block.

I would compare him to a young James Harrison.  He would bring a toughness to the Browns defense that has been nonexistent since their return in 1999. The last linebacker that brought attitude to every game was Jamir Miller.

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He only had one 10-plus sack season, but he was always around the ball and made an impact for a defense that was lacking significant talent.  Ingram’s best season was in 2015 when he delivered 65 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

He didn’t build on that production last season, but he still had a solid year.

The biggest issue with Ingram in his career so far has been durability. He missed 13 games in 2013 after suffering an ACL tear in OTAs. In 2014, he missed the remaining eight games of the season after dealing with hamstring and hip injuries.

The last two seasons, he’s maintained good health, and has played in every game.

I can already see Collins and Ingram rushing off the edges with Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett doing the same–if that’s the direction the Browns decide to go.

I can dream right?

Since coming back, Cleveland never had two good pass rushers. They’ll have one, but never multiple players.  With that trio, along with Garrett, you could potentially have four players that can rush the passer consistently.

I don’t know if the Browns will pursue him after signing Collins to his huge deal on Monday, but it would make the linebacking core one of the best in the NFL. Yes, I believe in Williams defense that much.

Anybody that can bring a defense from 32nd to 1st is fine in my book.

Next: Even The Browns Think They Overpaid For Collins

Getting Ingram would also show Browns fans that the organization is serious about turning the team around and not just settling for second best.