It’s no secret that the Browns are moving to a 3-4 defense next season, and although many fans may disagree with this style, newly-acquired defensive coordinator Ray Horton will have this young defense playing top-notch football come fall.
The key to a 3-4 defense is a strong pass rush and getting the right player to lead the defensive line could be the primary focus for a unit that allowed over 245 yards per game last season, which ranked 25th in the NFL. That player is LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo.
Mingo is a 6-5, 240-pound stud that can transition to outside linebacker when needed. His size and speed (he runs a 4.61 40-yard dash) are second-to-none in this year’s upcoming draft and he is currently ranked eighth overall on ESPN’s draft board.
During his 40 career games with the Tigers, “KeKe,” as he is called, accumulated 119 total tackles (60 solo), with 29 of them being for a loss, and racked up 15 sacks. What the Browns will need from him is the constant pressure and frustrating of opposing quarterbacks. He led the team in 2012 with 12 quarterback hurries (27 for his career) and managed to bat down 11 passes.
Mingo started just 15 total games, but that didn’t stop him from piling up the awards. The top defensive end was named second team All-SEC as a sophomore and junior and was also voted to the freshman All-SEC team in 2010.
With the recent release of Frostee Rucker, this pick could easily fill that position. Other names that have been brought up in regards to defensive ends being drafted early are Bjoern Werner out of Florida State and Dion Jordan from Oregon.
The problem I find with these two are their lack of speed and an overall build that may limit the amount of muscle each can put on. Werner is 6-4, 255 pounds and when compared to Mingo, is 15 pounds heavier and clocks in .17 seconds slower with a 4.78 in the 40-yard dash. Jordan is even slower with a 4.89 and, although he has a long frame at 6-6, he lacks bulk at 239 pounds. He may help with batting down passes, but will not provide the pass rush that Mingo is capable of.
The most intriguing aspect that makes Mingo a better overall choice is his ability to move from defensive end to outside linebacker on any play while Werner and Jordan may lack the speed and quickness to make this move. If the Browns decide to improve the defensive line and make the switch to the 3-4 a success, Mingo is the way to go.