he Kansas City Chiefs made one trade at the November 2 trade deadline, and it has worked wonders for them ever since.
Three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Melvin Ingram was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Chiefs in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick. Since the trade, Kansas City is 8-1 and allowing just 16 points per game on defense. That’s in part because of what Ingram has brought to the Chiefs in terms of ability.
Since joining the Chiefs, Ingram has an overall grade of 79.0 from PFF, which ranks sixth among Chiefs defenders, and second to only Chris Jones along the defensive line. However, his 88.2 run defense grade is by far the best on the team, as the next best defender against the run Kansas City has is cornerback Rashad Fenton, who is graded nearly 10 points lower at 79.8.
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Comparing Ingram’s run defense grade as a Chief to other edge defenders’ grades for the entire season, Ingram ranks second overall in the league, only behind Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (93.2).
Ingram, 32, has been well worth the draft capital given up to acquire him and is earning rave reviews from some of Kansas City’s biggest stars because of it.
Kelce Calls Ingram ‘Juice Man’
Speaking about Ingram during his press conference on Wednesday, January 13, tight end Travis Kelce gushed over what the veteran defender has provided for the defending AFC champions.
“I think it was my first seven-eight years playing, I had to get [Melvin Ingram] at least twice a year,” Kelce said. “But man, I’m glad he’s on our team, I’ll tell you that much. He just has the entire package.
“I said it when he came here, any time you add a ‘Juice Man’ or just an ultimate competitor like him, it doesn’t matter what spot you put that guy in, he’s got a great feel of being a competitor and just playing with teammates. That’s why he fit the mold so perfectly when he got here. Both his energy on the field and who he is on the field as a playmaker. It was just the perfect match. I’m definitely glad to have him here and not having to go against him twice a year.”
Kelce went on to explain how Ingram’s play and presence in the locker room have impacted the players around him in Kansas City.
“The ‘Swag Champ’ man, when you bring a guy with that much ‘Juice’ and that much swagger about himself, a perennial all-star, I mean that makes everybody play better,” Kelce continued. “You saw it immediately, how much more fun the guys were having. Not that we weren’t on the track to getting better. We had a lot of guys figuring it out both offensively and defensively. But sure enough, when he came in, everybody started clicking even more.”
Mahomes on Ingram: ‘He’s a Mismatch’
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes also spoke about Ingram’s high level of play.
“Yeah I mean he’s definitely a leader. He’s a vet, he’s someone that understands how to play the game and play it the right way,” Mahomes said during his press conference on Wednesday. “He’s a mismatch out there. He’s just as good against the run as he is against the pass. He can play every single down; he can go out there and play with his presence and kind of bring everybody along. He’s been a great addition to the defensive line room.”
Against his former team in Week 16, Ingram, along with the remainder of Kansas City’s defense, dominated.
The Chiefs’ defense forced the Steelers’ offense into three turnovers, 3.8 yards per pass, 5-for-13 on third down, and allowed just 10 points that week, per ESPN. That’s why Kansas City opened the postseason as 13-point favorites against Pittsburgh, per DraftKings Sportsbook.
Ingram may have the inside scoop on how to stop Pittsburgh since he spent several months within the organization, which could have led to the blowout performance the day after Christmas. If that’s the case, then the Chiefs should handily beat Pittsburgh on Wild-Card Weekend as they work their way to a third-straight Super Bowl appearance.