BEREA: When the Browns drafted Barkevious Mingo sixth overall in this year’s NFL Draft and the rival Pittsburgh Steelers nabbed Jarvis Jones 11 spots later at No. 17, the comparisons between the two became inevitable.
Both hail from the Southeastern Conference, Mingo from Louisiana State University and Jones from the University of Georgia.
Both will play outside linebacker in 3-4, attack-oriented NFL schemes that will mirror each other.
Both will be counted on to torment quarterbacks in the AFC North for years to come.
Both, in Mingo’s words, are deceptively strong.
“He walked those big offensive tackles back, and he was getting in the backfield getting sacks and he just never stopped,” the 6-foot-4, 237-pound Mingo said of the 6-2, 245-pound Jones during the NFL Rookie Symposium’s PLAY 60 youth football clinic Tuesday at the Browns’ headquarters. … “Those [offensive tackles], they look at me, and they think they’re just going to position me. Watch those games, you can see it’s about leverage.”
Mingo, though, is downplaying most of the comparisons already.
“I really didn’t pay attention to it,” Mingo said. “We’re obviously two different people. We play on two different teams. The only thing that we have in common is that we play the same position.
“You can’t just say one team is better than the other or one person is better than the other. You have to go out and play. Then you can compare.”
Mingo and Jones got to know each other on a flight departing from Indianapolis after the NFL Scouting Combine in February. They’ve talked this week during the symposium and have formed a bond.
So will Jones track Mingo’s production?
“Not really,” Jones said. “Me and Mingo are friends. I know he’s going to do great. [I] hope he has a great career. I know he will. As far as me, I’m continuing to do what I can for my team and for myself. I’ve got to continue to work on my craft and better myself. I chat with him from here to there. I know he’ll do great things, and [he has] been working hard. As far as following his career, we’re in the same league, so we pretty much know what each other [is] doing.”
Although they seem to have a fair amount in common, there are differences, too.
Jones played outside linebacker in Georgia’s 3-4 scheme, but Mingo will be switching from 4-3 defensive end at LSU to 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL.
“There’s obviously going to be a learning curve for me playing this position,” Mingo said. “I think I’ve done a great job so far. I’ve still got some more improvement to do.”
Mingo excelled at the combine, running the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds. Jones did not participate in drills at the combine because he underwent extensive medical testing as a result of being diagnosed with spinal stenosis in 2009. Then, during his pro day in March, he posted a disappointing time of 4.92 seconds in the 40, according to Georgia’s athletics website.
“The combine really isn’t football,” Mingo said. “There is not going to be a time where you’re asked to run 40 yards and if you run fast then you win, unless you have the ball in your hand.
“It’s about what you do on the field. The coaches like to see that kind of stuff. They like to say, ‘Well, OK, if he can do that well, then he’ll be able to do this well.’ But until you actually put the pads on and you go out there and you get to those drills and you get in those games and then you play, you just don’t know.”
Jones was more productive in college, compiling 28 sacks compared with Mingo’s 15.
But Mingo was picked first, meaning the Browns believe he’ll be a better NFL player than Jones, who visited the team’s headquarters in Berea during the pre-draft process.
“They told me they wanted me here,” Jones said of the Browns. “I think everybody told me they wanted me there at their place. … They passed me over for a reason. Whatever reason it was, that’s their choice. They had a choice to pick. I’m just going to take advantage of the opportunity I do have with the Pittsburgh Steelers.”
So who will have the better rookie season?
“We’ll see,” Mingo said with a laugh. “Nobody knows yet, so you’ve just got go out there and work, get on the field and just produce.”
Change of plans
Browns special adviser and legendary running back Jim Brown canceled an NFL Rookie Symposium speaking engagement scheduled for today at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, citing fatigue from a significant amount of recent travel.
“I am very sorry that I am unable to attend tomorrow’s Hall of Fame session with the rookie class,” Brown, 77, said in a statement. “Our young NFL players are very dear to me, but due to my extensive travels of late, I am extremely tired and need to rest. I look forward to returning to Ohio this summer for all of the festivities as we celebrate 50 years of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
Before Brown issued the statement, the league announced he would not attend the event because of an illness. Either way, Brown’s ailment is not believed to be serious.
Brown was scheduled to conduct a history lesson for the AFC rookies today when they visit the Hall of Fame in Canton. Fellow Hall of Famer Mike Haynes is scheduled to replace Brown.
Mingo said he still weighs 237 pounds but plans to report to training camp in mid-July at about 240 pounds. “I’ll probably eat a lot of double cheeseburgers,” Mingo said. “I’m not that far away [from 240]. I just love cheeseburgers.” … Mingo has yet to sign his rookie contract, but he believes it’s getting closer to being completed. “Working on it,” Mingo said. “Hasn’t gotten finished yet. But hopefully it will get done soon.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at http://www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/browns.abj.