When the Cleveland Browns used the sixth-overall pick of the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft on former LSU Tigers’ defensive end Barkevious Mingo, they believed they were getting the elite pass rush every successful NFL defense needs.
Mingo, however, struggled somewhat as a rookie, which probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
Now it looks like those struggles may be coming to an end. Mingo is drawing rave reviews in training camp and Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer believes Mingo is poised for a breakout season.
If Mingo looks as good during the season as he does in training camp, he can finish the season with double-digit sacks. Last season, he was set back early on by the bruised lung and had a hard time catching up. This season, he’s playing quicker and with more confidence. He’s also bulked up a bit and is making big plays on a consistent basis. During the scrimmage, he picked off a deflected Brian Hoyer pass and returned it about 40 yards. It will be interesting to see how he does in the first few preseason games.
The Browns used the eighth-overall selection on former Oklahoma State Cowboys’ cornerback Justin Gilbert to pair him with one of the elite corners in football, Joe Haden. If Mingo and the Browns show an improved pass rush, it will allow those two to make plays in the secondary and create more turnovers in 2014.
Mingo had 42 tackles, 5.0 sacks and four passes defended in 15 games for the Browns last season.