Does Melvin Ingram fix the Kansas City Chiefs defense?


The Kansas City Chiefs traded for Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end, Melvin Ingram, at the NFL trade deadline. Can he solve their defensive woes?

Despite a struggling 4-4 start, the Kansas City Chiefs were always destined to be buyers at the trade deadline. With an obvious need on the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs dipped into the market and traded a sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for defensive end Melvin Ingram, as first reported by Ian Rapoport of the NFL.

Source: The #Steelers are trading Melvin Ingram to the #Chiefs in exchange for a 6th round pick,

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 2, 2021

Ingram joined the Steelers in the offseason after spending the first nine seasons of his career with the Los Angeles Chargers. Now, he heads to the Chiefs after playing just six games with the Steelers – starting only one. The Chiefs desperately needed to inject some juice into a defense that ranks 31st in DVOA and 30th in EPA allowed. The question is, can Ingram be the man to lead the renaissance?

How bad has the Kansas City Chiefs defense been?

It’s not a new discovery, but the Chiefs defense has been below-average for almost half a decade, now. The offense has been on another planet since Patrick Mahomes stepped in as the starter, but the defense has often struggled to hold up its end of the bargain. In the last few years, that hasn’t mattered all of that much. However, the offense has struggled at times in 2021, and that means the defense’s fragility sticks out more than usual. That includes the pass rush.

The Chiefs’ defense front has struggled to get after quarterbacks this season, which is why the move for Ingram was at the forefront of their plans. The defense currently ranks in the bottom 10 for total pressures (68) and second-last in sacks (11), per Pro Football Reference. Despite just starting one game, Ingram already has more pressures (11) than any other member of the Chiefs defense this season.

It’s clear the Chiefs needed another option off the edge. Chris Jones is much more suited to playing as the 3 technique, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has often used him on the edge this season. Frank Clark just hasn’t lived up to his huge contract, either. The bright spot on the defensive line so far has been Michael Danna, with 10 pressures and 3 sacks to start the year.

Is Melvin Ingram the answer to Chiefs woes?

But with the defense clearly out of answers right now, they needed more. Hopefully, Ingram can provide a spark. However, it’s clear that the Chiefs have some other concerning holes that need to be filled. The secondary has been getting burned consistently and the defense has given up more penalties than anyone else in the NFL, right now (62).

The 32-year-old pass rusher could prove to be an effective playmaker for the Chiefs down the final stretch of the season, but for him to be the pivotal difference-maker seems just too unlikely. The Chiefs’ defense just has too much going against it right now.

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