Much was made following recent off-season activities that Cleveland Browns First Round Pick Barkevious Mingo was not starting but playing with the second unit. When your team has been a perpetual failure in relation to making the playoffs, and have the 6th overall pick, expectations and hopes for your first round pick tends to be high. Fans often want that player to turn the team around such Andrew Luck and Robert Griffen III but unless a star Quarterback is available this is unlikely. Unlike the NBA first round draft picks need to fit in with the rest of the team, with the strategy of the coordinator and can be minimized by veteran savvy.
Given all that does not mean that Mingo can’t have an impact this year and should be given many opportunities to do so. Unless there are injuries, or less likely a trade, to either Paul Kruger and Jabal Sheard and possibly Quetin Groves, Mingo will not be a starter this year. Instead Defensive Coordinator Ray Horton will look for ways to put Mingo in positions to be successful. A key that Horton talked about for his “multi front” defense was “small guys who can hit, big guys who can run.” Mingo falls in the little bit of both category: He is a lean guy who can hit and a tall, long guy who can run. Look for Horton to use Mingo in obvious passing situations and UFO formations, to borrow from Rob Ryan. Being deployed in these situations will minimize the learning curve and increase the success rate for the rookie. Long term this will benefit the mindset and confidence of Mingo, hopefully leading to a long successful career of harassing quarterbacks for the Browns.
Statistical projections are just conjecture at this point but a rookie season of 6 to 8 sacks, 2 INTs, 5 tackles for loss and 3o to 40 tackles are all reasonable projections. Fans expecting more, therefore calling him a bust with these stats, will be thinking short term and miss the long term growth potential of Mingo. It should be clear to all that playing in front of the Dawg Pound with a name like Barkevious is bound to be succesful.