As everyone of course knows, the leader in sacks among rookies is undrafted free agent Chris Jones for the New England Patriots with 5. Everyone saw that one coming. The former Bowling Green Falcon has picked up where he left off in the MAC in terms of pass rushing. The guy who is second among rookies in the NFL and the highest total among the Cleveland Browns is Barkevious Mingo. The sixth pick of the draft that was constantly hassled about his weight and overall size took over the team lead with 4 sacks when he absolutely decked Alex Smith in the game this past week against the Kansas City Chiefs when they tried to run a flea flicker.
Mingo has a significant amount of work to do with his technique in the NFL, but he has been able to make an impact and when he was drafted, it was to get after opposing quarterbacks. So far, so good and he should only get better. Through eight games in the NFL season, Mingo finds himself with as many sacks fellow first round picks Ezekiel Ansah of the Detroit Lions (3), Dion Jordan of the Miami Dolphins (1) and Jarvis Jones of the Pittsburgh Steelers (0) combined. All three of those players were discussed as possibilities for the Browns pick, but Ansah and Jordan went before the Browns had a chance, though the Browns say Mingo was the #1 guy on their board and the one that if he was available, would eliminate any chances of moving down in a trade. As a result, the St. Louis Rams traded a second round pick to move up to the eighth pick to select Tavon Austin instead of the Browns.
The Browns wanted build a strong front seven and they certainly have the pieces in place to be good for a while. Mingo is a huge part of that plan and the sack number is a recognition of the work he is doing, but Mingo knows and the Browns know how much further he has to go and how much better he can still get on this team and within this defensive scheme. Mingo may only get better during the second half of the season and could keep piling up the sack totals.