(Photography by Steelers.com)
Could Melvin Ingram actually start over Alex Highsmith in 2021? That question has not been answered yet by Head Coach Mike Tomlin... Going into the 2021 season many in the media felt Alex Highsmith was going to be the starter for the Steelers opposite of TJ Watt, but at this point, it is very unclear. In 2020 Alex Highsmith showed he can play in the NFL and had a better rookie season than Bud Dupree did.
After the 2021 NFL draft, the Steelers had a problem with depth at the outside linebacker position. Although they had Cassius Marsh and Quincy Roche the Steelers did not feel comfortable going into the new season one injury away from having either player take on a starting role. So the Steelers decided to bring in Melvin Ingram.
TJ Watt has talked very highly of Melvin Ingram so far. He is very excited Ingram landed in Pittsburgh and said Ingram is a guy he has watched on film for many years. Not only that, but Watt says Ingram is a guy who he can learn a lot from too. Not every day do you get to hear TJ Watt hyping up another NFL player, but he seems to think very highly of Melvin Ingram.
Keith Butler was asked about Melvin Ingram's role going forward with the Pittsburgh Steelers yesterday. He was noncommittal on Ingram's role too as he said, "I don't know, we will see. I don't expect anything. I am just going to watch them." No one knows if the Steelers have brought in Melvin Ingram to motivate Alex Highsmith, but yesterday it seemed to have worked because Highsmith spent an extra 25 minutes working on his pass-rushing after practice.
Even if Melvin Ingram does not get the starting role with the Pittsburgh Steelers you can almost guarantee the Steelers will use him quite a bit. In fact, the Steelers are expected to let Ingram see at least 20-25 snaps per game. For now, the Steelers either do not know who will start opposite of TJ Watt or they're wanting to see Alex Highsmith take it up a notch knowing he could have competition from a veteran presence. The Steelers might actually have a camp battle that I did not expect to happen prior to heading into training camp...