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End prospects plentiful at Sr. Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. _ The Tennessee Titans need help at defensive end, and there is plenty of potential defensive end help to behold here at the Senior Bowl.

Melvin Ingram has plenty of versatility, enough that both 3-4 and 4-3 teams could consider drafting him.

That is especially true on the South squad where three players with big-time potential have been working together on the defense.

Those three – North Carolina's Quinton Coples, Alabama's Courtney Upshaw and South Carolina's Melvin Ingram - are all projected as potential first-round picks and on display here this week.

Of that trio, Coples is considered the most pure 4-3 end of the bunch, as some scouting services believe that Upshaw and/or Ingram could wind up being outside linebackers in a 3-4 system depending upon which team selects them.

Coples, according to a league source, has spoken with the Tennessee Titans, as they go through their Senior Bowl interviews. And though at 6-5, 285, he has the perfect build for a defensive end, Coples says he too could play the 3-4 if a team needed him to.

“I'm very versatile. I'm able to play the 3-4 or the 4-3, whichever one the coach asks me to play. I've definitely been working on my 3-4 technique,” Coples said.

He might be the most exact fit for what the Titans would look for in a defensive end, but the question is whether he would still be on the board when Tennessee picks at No. 20.

As for the teams that have interviewed him this week, Coples said he has pretty much lost count, but he said he has nothing to hide in terms of character.

“I'm clean. I have nothing to hide. I'm an open book,” he said.

Ingram was used in a variety of ways by the Gamecocks this season, and says he has the work ethic to play wherever a team would want him in the NFL. With the Titans he certainly would have the build to play at end at 6-2, 276 and might even be able to play tackle in a system like the Titans employ.

“I feel like I can play any position on a football field because I'm going to work hard to be dominant,” he said. “I did all of it, nose, three, five, outside linebacker, ghost, middle linebacker. I just try to have high intensity.”

Asked which teams had spoken with him, Ingram had the line of the day Wednesday, “I think there's only 32, but I feel like I talked to 64.”

Upshaw is another prospect who doesn't lack for confidence and won't lack for teams interested in him either, whether it is as a 3-4 linebacker or in the 4-3. Upshaw is built more like a rush linebacker, but is still big enough at 265 pounds to put his hand to the ground and rush the passer, even though he measured just a shade over 6-2 at the weigh-ins.

“I'm a competitor. If you're a competitor, you'll go out and try to play every play. It don't matter to me. I feel I can do both,” Upshaw said. “There's a job opportunity right here. I've just got to go out and get a job.”

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