Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Edge rusher Melvin Ingram (a/k/a rapper King Mel) is a good signing for the Steelers. 

He can be a better signing if: 

*He’s 100 percent healthy. Ingram played just seven games with the Los Angeles Chargers last year because of knee issues. 

*He gets a legit chance to win the starting job from second-year pro Alex Highsmith. 

The former determines the latter. But if the former is no problem – that’s a big “if” – then the latter should be a fait accompli. 

Highsmith is a ham-and-egger, a third-round draft pick from a Group of Five college. When the since-departed Bud Dupree got hurt last year, Highsmith played. Highsmith did OK, but no better. 

Ingram made the Pro Bowl from 2017-19. He had 43 sacks in the five seasons preceding 2020. He’s a first-round pick from a Power Five school. 

If Ingram is healthy, he has to get first crack at that job. He could make a dominant defense even more dominant. 

But it probably won’t happen like that. The Steelers drafted Highsmith to be Dupree’s replacement. The Steelers will stick to their plan. They’re not much for this new-fangled free agency crap. Draft and develop.

The Steelers need to win games with defense. That's difficult to do in today's NFL. Ingram is more likely than Highsmith to compile takeaways and sacks. 

BTW, this is probably Ben Roethlisberger’s last season

Photo: Getty Images

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