Originally posted on Fox Sports San Diego  |  Last updated 4/27/12
The Chargers say it every year, but maybe this year they really mean it: they got the player they wanted in the draft's first round. Melvin Ingram, the University of South Carolina standout, was selected No. 18 by the Chargers on Thursday. Eager to fix a third-down defense which was the NFL's worst last year, the team turned to Ingram to cleanse that blemish. "That was the key for us so obviously you can talk about a lot of different areas, a lot of different things," Turner said. "But to me we have improved a great deal as a football team through free agency and improved today by adding a player the caliber of Melvin." Ingram moved around at South Carolina, playing along every defensive level, save the secondary. But it's on the edge where he will line up most in the in the Chargers' 3-4, asked to supply a push to the pocket. "This was the right pick for us," Turner said. The Chargers said they were surprised Ingram was at No. 18, and they might not be fibbing. It was believed the rush on those getting after quarterbacks would come earlier, but with a tsunami of offensive players being drafted, it came later than expected. That worked in the Chargers favor, as they dedicated most of their earlier offseason work to shoring up the offense. So it was clear they wanted to aid a defense which fell on hard times, and they could hardly contain their glee that Ingram was there at their spot. "That was the great thing for us because in all the mocks we saw, the things we did in our work outs, that Melvin would be gone a lot earlier," said Jimmy Raye, the team's director of pro personnel. "We were excited when he came down the board." Raye said the Chargers toyed with trading up, but it wasn't required the way the draft was unfolding. "We always are considering everything," he said. "We thought about going up, of course, but we decided to stay where we were. We had a cluster of players we felt good about and when he was there, we felt good about it." That good feeling could be extended if Ingram pans out. He left South Carolina with 21.5 sacks, the fourth-most in school history. His 10 sacks last year tied the team's single-season mark. "My No. 1 goal is to come in and work hard and make an impact as soon as possible," Ingram said. He added 15 tackles for losses last year, and the Chargers are all eyes about that. But when seeing their depth chart, there seems to be an overload of outside linebackers: Larry English, Antwan Barnes, and Shaun Phillips. And that's fine with Turner. "An impact player doesn't have to be on the field every down," Turner reminded. He's right. And the Chargers hope they got right on Thursday, making a move that will return them to the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
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