2013 NFL Draft: Browns get their pass rusher, draft Mingo

With the sixth overall pick, the Cleveland Browns select LSU pass rusher Barkevious Mingo.

As a new regime begins in Cleveland, there have been dozens of players mocked to the Browns at the No. 6 overall selection in the last few days alone. But all along, the apple of their eye has been a pass-rusher. And not just any pass-rusher, but LSU’s Mingo, who doesn’t have the elite resume (only 4.5 sacks in 2012) but has an NFL upside that could be special.

Mingo joins a defense that is transitioning to a 3-4 scheme under new coordinator Ray Horton and has added pass-rush linebackers in free agency (Paul Kruger, Quentin Groves). Ideally suited for an attacking, pass-rush linebacker spot, Mingo gives the Browns an aggressive chess piece who can play the run and attack the pocket from different angles. Critics point to the lack of production over his career, but it’s important to keep stats in context. Watching the tape, Mingo was asked to drop in space, hold the edge and wasn’t asked to simply pin his ears back and rush the pocket nearly enough. But when he was asked to penetrate, Mingo showed explosive abilities to change directions, stop on a dime and redirect his momentum to keep blockers off balance.

With the success of Von Miller in the NFL, teams are looking for that next impact pass-rusher in that mold. And while Mingo isn’t Miller, he might be the closest thing in this draft to a Miller-like pass rushing prospect.

Here is my quick scouting report on Mingo:

Explosive and eats up grass in a hurry with a nimble, athletic frame … flexible ankles with smooth hips to easily redirect and start/stop on a dime to adjust to the blocker … flattens out flawlessly with excellent feet in space, doing a nice job sidestepping blocks … long arms with lightning fast hands … natural in space with the speed to chase down the action … nice job collecting himself, and his motor runs through the whistle … versatile and sets the edge vs. the run … special teams experience.

Leaner-than-ideal frame with a narrow torso and average strength … lacks ideal build to physically abuse blockers and easily disengage … doesn’t have a power move and is too easily slowed by blockers’ arms … suspect anchor and can be redirected by blockers … room to improve his snap anticipation with too many offsides penalties in college … will misjudge angles, room to clean up his open-field tackling to be a better finisher … lean-muscled, how much weight/bulk can he add?

Lacks an impressive resume with only 15 starts and average production (4.5 sacks in 2012), but wasn’t always used properly, performing much better in space or when rushed from aggressive angles … very good get-off quickness and explosive play speed, just a matter of time until he gets to the pocket … active hands, but overall strength and growth potential is a concern … still rough around the edges but has the athletic skill set and play speed to be a productive OLB in a 3-4 look.

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