Mingo signed with LSU in 2009 but redshirted. He proved himself to be a playmaker once he did get on the field, posting 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles despite only starting one game (saw action in all 13) in 2010.
Though he'd demonstrated great speed off the edge and uncommon awareness to get those long arms into passing lanes (second on the team with six passes defensed), no one could have foreseen his breakout 2011 campaign. The LSU coaches certainly didn't. Mingo began the season behind veteran Ken Adams at left defensive end and actually only started four games in 2011. That didn't stop him from registering 46 tackles, including 15 tackles for loss (leading the team) and eight sacks (second on team).
Mingo possesses the frame (6-5, 240 pounds) and athleticism to warrant top 10 consideration, but at this point he remains a largely unpolished product who relies on his natural tools rather than technique to make plays.
Given Mingo's upside, it is easy to imagine him terrorizing NFL quarterbacks off the edge as a multi-dimensional defender. Considering Mingo's relatively pedestrian numbers (38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks) in 2012, however, the junior might have been better served returning to Baton Rouge for his senior season.
Weaknesses: Looks more like a small forward than an NFL defensive end and could be asked to make the transition to outside linebacker, a position he's never played. While possessing explosive straight-line speed, has very long legs, which make him less fluid when changing directions than ideal. Relies upon his burst upfield to beat pass blockers and simply hasn't developed the counter moves to complement his speed in three seasons of action, leading to some concerns that he won't.
Compares To: Bruce Irvin, DE, Seattle Seahawks -- Mingo is longer than Irvin and therefore possesses more athletic upside. Like Irvin, who led all rookies with eight sacks in 2012, Mingo's speed should result in eye-popping numbers immediately. He doesn't have an effective counter yet, however, and is a liability against the run, at this time.