This is the eighth in a 20-part series examining some possibilities for the Browns in the 2013 NFL Draft, including extensive looks at the most likely prospects for the No. 6 overall selection, potential targets later in the draft, trade-down scenarios, what the other teams in the AFC North might do and the top players coming out of Ohio State and the Mid-American Conference.
Each morning will bring a new, daily posting leading up the NFL Scouting Combine on Feb 20.
Today, we continue with perhaps the most athletic pass rusher in the draft, but one who's on-field production hasn't matched his impressive measurables.
Barkevious Mingo, LSU, Junior
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 240 pounds.
2012 stats: 38 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss.
Current overall prospect ranks: NFLDraftScout.com: 9th; Scout's Inc.: 5th; ESPN's Todd McShay: 8th; ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.: 11th.
Current projected draft position: NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler and Kiper have Mingo going No. 9 overall to the New York Jets. Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com sees Mingo being taken 5th overall by the Detroit Lions. McShay, who still hasn't reordered his draft order after the season, has Mingo being the 6th player to be taken off the board -- in his mock, that's the Tennessee Titans but currently, that would be to the Browns.
Overview: Mingo only started playing football as a junior in high school, when his talents on the track and pure athleticism led his coaches to direct him to the football field. He was then as highly touted as any prospect in the country when choosing LSU. His breakout season came in 2011 as a sophomore, when he had eight sacks and 15 tackles for a loss despite only actually starting four games on a very talented defensive line. As a junior this past season, at least statistically, Mingo was a disappointment, notching only 4.5 sacks despite more playing time. Puzzlement between what Mingo looks like on film and how it translated into such low totals has been common.
What they're saying: Despite his low production, the word "freak" is thrown around pretty frequently with Mingo. ... Has elite suddenness for the position and an explosive first step. ... Shows very good quickness, agility and change-of-direction skills. ... Has quick hands, but needs to learn how to use them more effectively as a pass rusher. ... Has long arms, explosive movement skills and good core strength. ... Occasionally shows ability to get offensive tackles off balance with power, but needs to learn how to capitalize on it and should only improve in that area. ... Adequate awareness as a pass rusher. ... Gets long arms up to disrupt passing lanes. ... At times, arrives at the quarterback out of control and fails to finish. ... At his best when turned loose up the field. ... Has great range versus the run for a defensive end. ... Closes quickly and flashes power at the point of attack but leaves his feet too often as a tackler. ... Is lean, could add bulk and strength to frame. ... Can be late diagnosing run too often. ... Shows fluid hips for size and is absolutely capable of making the move to outside linebacker in the NFL. ... Plays in heavy rotation so he rarely tires on the field, but doesn't take plays off when in the game. ... His speed should lead to eye-popping numbers but is a liability against the run at this time. ... Has as much upside as any player in the draft.
NFLDraftScout.com player comparison: Bruce Irvin, DE/OLB, Seattle Seahawks.
Why he fits the Browns' needs: To run Ray Horton's 3-4 multi-front scheme, the Browns could use a talented pass-rushing linebacker on the outside. Few come along with the pure athleticism and skills of Mingo, which is why his low sack totals are so puzzling. Nevertheless, Mingo is said to truly shine on film and has the frame and skills to keep improving (after all, he didn't play football until midway through high school). Mingo has the traits to be a terrorizing threat in a pass-happy NFL, and it's key that scouts think his speed and fluid hips will allow for a smooth transition to a 3-4 OLB. And at only 240 pounds, that might be necessary unless he puts on weight. Horton says he wants to put pressure on the quarterback, and Mingo could certainly end up as a nice piece in the Browns' front seven unless he ends up as more Jane than Tarzan on the field, another super-gifted athlete who doesn't see his numbers translate. Remember Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston?