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Chargers take Melvin Ingram with 18th pick

SAN DIEGO (AP) - After finishing last in the NFL in third-down defense, the San Diego Chargers will turn to "Super Melvin" to try to get out of their funk.

The Chargers picked Melvin Ingram of South Carolina with the 18th pick overall in the NFL draft on Thursday night.

While Ingram was a first-team All-American at defensive end, he'll be used as an outside linebacker in the Chargers' 3-4 scheme.

"I feel like I fit in real good," Ingram said from New York during a conference call. "I feel like I can play any position the coach needs me to play because I'm going to work that much harder to get that much done."

Ingram said he got his nickname because he played so many positions in high school.

The Chargers will simply tell him to go get the quarterback.

"My No. 1 goal is to come in and work hard and try to make an impact as soon as possible," he said.

As a senior, Ingram tied the school single-season record with 10 sacks and had 48 tackles.

The Chargers were thrilled Melvin was still available. Some people had him projected as a top 10 pick.

Coach Norv Turner said the Chargers felt Ingram was the most complete linebacker on the board.

"Melvin can be an impact player," Turner said. "He doesn't have to be on the field every down. He can fit in with the mix of the guys we have. He can learn from them. I think he's going to be outstanding on third down. He has rushed inside."

Turner said the Chargers will use Ingram in a rotation with the other outside linebackers, including Shaun Phillips, Antwan Barnes, Travis LaBoy, free agent pickup Jarret Johnson and Larry English, the 2009 first-round pick who hasn't lived up to his billing.

"You just have to look back to when our defense has been at its best and we've had multiple players playing at the outside linebacker position," Turner said. "One of the things that was really hard on our guys last year is we had some guys play 750 plays the entire season, which the guys before them really didn't have to do."

The Chargers have missed the playoffs for two straight seasons. They were 8-8 last year. One more win would have given them the title in the weak AFC West. Instead, Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos claimed the title. Tebow, in his second year, led the Broncos to a playoff victory, matching the Chargers' total in the last four seasons. The Broncos now have Peyton Manning at quarterback.

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