The Cleveland Browns spent a high first-round selection on former LSU Tigers pass rusher Barkevious Mingo, but he is currently working with the second-team. Free agent signee Paul Kruger and 2011 second-rounder Jabaal Sheard are earning the first-team reps, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
From the report:
In his new spot at outside linebacker, the former LSU defensive end is already wreaking plenty of havoc. But the Browns aren’t going to hand him a starting job just because he was the No. 6 overall pick.
He’s currently toiling on the second team at right outside linebacker behind third-year pro Jabaal Sheard, who has had 15½ sacks the past two seasons. Starting on the opposite side is Paul Kruger, the former Baltimore Raven who broke out last season with nine sacks and 4½ more in the playoffs.
Mingo does have his eyes on the starting gig, though. When the Browns open up the season, Mingo plans to be named a starter.
“I’m very determined,” Mingo said. “That’s the goal. That should be everybody’s goal. You want to play, you want to help the team win, but you’ve got to put in the work.”
Whether or not the Browns are using the second-team reps to motivate Mingo is something that we will never know, but if it is a special tactic they are using it is certainly working. It’s not entirely surprising that Mingo isn’t an immediate starter because he came in to the league as a raw talent, but regardless of how many reps he gets you should expect him to be a valuable player in the Browns rotation at outside linebacker this season.