Philadelphia Eagles Fifth Round Draft Choice: Cornelius Ingram

Leo PizziniAnalyst IMay 30, 2009

GAINESVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Quarterback Cornelius Ingram #7 of the University of Florida Gators scrambles against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 10, 2005 in Gainesville, Florida. Florida defeated Louisiana Tech 41-3.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

Ingram had first round draft potential going in to his senior season at Florida.  It was an unfortunate injury that kept him out that year, but a torn ACL netted Ingram as a fifth round pick by the Eagles.

Reid likes to take chances on players who were highly rated prior to an injury.  In 2008, the Eagles drafted Jack Ikegwuonu in the fourth round.  He had a similar season ending injury prior to the combine and slipped from a first round talent to a fourth round pick and sat on IR for 2008.

While Ikegwuono will be fighting for his 2009 roster spot, Ingram will be testing his well rested knee with NFL contact in a few weeks.  He claims to be at 100% and performed well at the combine.

Ingram is different than Ikegwuonu in that he has been resting and rehabilitating since the summer.

Overall, the strategy to take a second day draft pick who is an injury risk, seems to be a very logical hedge.  We will see how it plays out with these guys over the next couple of seasons.

Draft Analysis

Ingram is somewhat perceived as having a chip on his shoulder for falling into the fifth round.  He feels his talent is far above that value in the draft.  He watched tight ends Pettigrew, Quinn, Cook, Coffman, Beckum, Nelson, Hill, Drew, and Casey all get drafted before him.

Ingram definitely has the game and athleticism to be the best tight end in the 2009 draft.  

He will be looking to settle a grievance with the teams that passed on him by becoming the highly productive NFL player he was originally projected to be.

Here is a look at Ingram’s college production:

YR | RC | YRD | TD

05 | 00 | 000 | 00

06 | 30 | 380 | 01

07 | 34 | 508 | 07


Chase Coffman put up some staggering statistics at tight end for Mizzou.  But here is a look to compare Ingram’s production with the other tight end’s 2008 production:

Brandon Pettigrew 42-472-0 | Richard Quinn 8-97-1 | Jared Cook 37-573-3 | Chase Coffman 90-987-10 | Travis Beckum 23-264-0 | Shawn Nelson 53-557-3 | Anthony Hill 19-234-4 | Davon Drew 43-695-3 | James Casey 111-1329-13

Ingram was expected to have a 2008 season similar to fellow spread offense tight end, Chase Coffman.  Even still, Ingram’s junior year numbers are comparable to most of these players.

A potential weakness is that Ingram does not have a solid background in blocking.  Players like Pettigrew and Hill were very accomplished collegiate blockers.

He did perform fairly well at the NFL combine.

Ingram ran a 4.68 second 40 yard dash, benched 225 21 times, leaped 33” vertically and ran a 7.13 3-cone shuttle.  Pretty much what one would expect of such a well rounded and touted athlete.

Regardless, his qualities and accomplishments speak for themselves above any other statistical measure.

Ingram’s background as an athlete is very interesting.  Out of High School, Ingram was the eleventh rated college quarterback prospect.  He came to Florida in 2004 as a quarterback boasting 4.5 second speed at just over 205 pounds.

After his first season of football, Ingram played in 19 games for the Florida basketball program. 

Ingram in 2009:

In 2009, Ingram has developed into a 245 pound monster standing at 6’4”. 

Ingram was aware that NFL teams would be looking for tight ends that can block and make plays.  He invested a great deal of time in improving his blocking skills as he finished rehabilitating his repaired knee.

Ingram is a quick and elusive pass catching tight end.  His long arms and developing frame are imposing to any defender.

A few months of work with offensive line wizards, Andy Reid and Juan Castillo, and Cornelius Ingram will understand how to leverage his strength and athleticism in blocking situations.

In the OTAs, Ingram has been extremely impressive.  His pass catching, route running and minimum contact blocking is heralded among the coaches.  The truth to this story can only be known after they suit up in full gear and open up contact.

Ingram had a slight set back in the second OTA with a contusion to his repaired knee.  I expect this injury is unrelated to his 2008 season ender, but consider that there may be more small setbacks as he shakes off the rust and puts his body to the test this preseason.

In my opinion, Ingram will succeed at tight end because he is an athlete.  The tight end position requires one of the most dynamic skill sets on the field.  Big, strong, fast and well rounded athletes make the best tight ends.

How Ingram fits in with the Eagles:

As a fifth round draft pick, Ingram is an absolute steal.  He was projected as a late third or early fourth round prospect.  The talent pool for tight ends in the 2009 draft was thick and the entire crop dropped below expectations because of it.

Ingram fills a need for depth at tight end perfectly for the Eagles, making the pick that much more valuable.

Looking forward to Ingram’s contribution for 2009, one must temper their enthusiasm with the realization that tight end, Brent Celek, is an emerging tight end that deserves every opportunity to show that as a starter, he can be more productive than he was as a part timer in 2008.

I do expect Ingram to contribute in a relatively big way for a rookie tight end.  Ingram is an outstanding athlete that plays football very well.

It is wise to get him involved, but break him in slow if for no other reason than to maximize his opportunity to heal regardless of how good he feels. 

The NFL has no mercy on weak tendons and ligaments.

Some of the best complements given to Ingram have been a comparison in game to Shannon Sharpe and I have referenced his dual sport talent as marginally reminiscent of Tony Gonzales’ career at USC.

The basketball post up and box out method of body positioning in the end zone has proven well for most basketball-football type athletes that play NFL tight end and wider receiver positions.

In regards to position, I would think Ingram will get lined up as a split end more in 2009.  Not quite a wide receiver because he just a bit too bulky, but not quite a true tight end either.

With Ingram and Celek, the Eagles may have the best tight end tandem in their history.  There is plenty of reason to be excited about this duo.


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