Florida TE Cornelius Ingram (Scout.com)
As the 2009 NFL Draft approaches, the editorial staff at Buffalo Rumblings will begin profiling draft prospects that may end up being potential targets of the Buffalo Bills. Matt's back again to profile Florida's Cornelius Ingram.
One of the positions of need that has been clearly stated by the Rumblings community is a pass-catching tight end. Today we'll look at one of the draft prospects the Bills may select to fill this spot; Florida TE Cornelius Ingram.
Cornelius Ingram - Tight End, Florida
6'4", 245 lbs., 4.62-second 40 yard dash
Strengths: Physical gifts
When he was lost prior to this season, Gator fans were crushed because no one in the SEC (home of America's best college football, thank you very much) had an answer for him. At 6'4", he is too tall for a corner, yet is just as athletic. At 245 pounds, he isn't as big as a linebacker, but he can out run them. Because of his physical advantages (too fast for LBs, too big for CBs), he was often wide open. Ingram won't run away from many [DBs], so he prefers to run them over.
Weaknesses: Very raw at the position
I cannot say this enough, CI is a raw kid. If a team is willing to build him, he will be a freak of nature. Ingram is a former quarterback and basketball player, so his hands are still getting to where they need to be. In the Florida offense, the tight end rarely blocks, unless they are in a two-TE set. Even then, double tight ends usually means a run up the middle, and little chance for Ingram to knock someone back. (Ingram realizes this, too.) However, all the Florida receivers are very good downfield blockers and Ingram was no exception. This could be an area where he struggles because of technique. He is strong enough and has good feet, but he needs to learn more and get a bit bigger if he is asked to put his hand down on each play. A lot of upside. He is a great athlete and could have declared for the draft after his junior season. He is raw, so his first productive pro season could be the second or third season. If Ingram gets bigger, he will be a monster.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers; Kevin Boss, New York Giants
Best case scenario is Antonio Gates, simply for the fact that they both have basketball instincts on the field. (Also, I'm a huge CI fan and I want him to be the best tight end in the league.) Realistically, if he gets bigger, I see him becoming something similar to a faster Kevin Boss.
He grew up about 20 minutes from the University of Florida and was recruited to play football and basketball. After believing his future would be riding the bench behind Chris Leak, Tim Tebow and Florida's eventual back-to-back basketball champs, Ingram almost left school. Intervention by Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong (who recruited Ingram) convinced Ingram to move to tight end and Ingram embraced it... Ingram tore his left ACL just before the 2008 season started but apparently made a tremendous recovery.
Does he fit the Bill?
I really like Ingram's size. In college he was always able to dominate a defender physically. What happens in the NFL when someone his size can run with him or when a big safety can jump with him? Before deciding to return to school last year he was very highly rated (SBN's MockingTheDraft had him going #33 overall). His ACL tear has cost him spots and he may be available as late as the fourth round. He would represent good value there.
Collected Scouting Reports for further information:
Many thanks to the author of Alligator Army, mlmintampa, for his insight.