Cleveland Browns 2015 Roster Analysis: Linebackers
Experience: 7 years
Contract Status: Free Agent 2018
Coming off his best professional season in 2014 where he registered a career high and team high 11 sacks, Kruger was expected to be a huge piece of the Browns defensive success. However 2015 quickly became a season Kruger will want to forget and move on from.
Kruger publicly voiced his frustration stating that former defensive coordinator wasn’t scheming to his player’s strengths and was playing him out of position. Kruger wasn’t asked to rush the passer as much this season and that is his biggest strength he can bring to a defense.
Kruger had a severely disappointing season as his pass rush presence was greatly missed. However, Kruger was not wrong in arguing why he had a down season. Kruger is under contract for two more seasons and new defensive coordinator Ray Horton needs to unleash Kruger back into his pass rushing role. Horton was defensive coordinator in 2013, in Kruger’s first season with the Browns.
Despite the down season, Kruger is still a valuable part of the team moving forward. Kruger needs to return to the role he knows best and that’s creating pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The Browns pass rush was close to non-existent this past season and if Kruger can rebound from his down season, it would provide a significant boost to the Browns defense.
Experience: 3 years
Contract Status: Free Agent 2017 (Club option)
Mingo saw his role significantly lessen in 2015. Mingo was sidelined for a majority of training camp after having a minor surgery on his knee. Mingo returned week one and played in all 16 games but his role with the defense was uncertain.
Mingo played only a few series each game and primary played coverage against the pass. Mingo was drafted 6th overall in 2013 with hopes of becoming a top edge rusher. Mingo was only recorded 7 sacks since entering the league and had zero in 2015.
Mingo remains a top athlete on the Browns defense and is still young at age 25. With the return of Ray Horton, Horton may be able to tap into the potential of Mingo. Mingo had his best season as a rookie in Horton’s defense when he recorded five sacks and 42 tackles.
Mingo will have to compete for playing time and reinvent himself in Horton’s defense. Horton will attempt to find a role for the still young Mingo. Mingo hasn’t lived up to his sixth overall pick status but remains an intriguing player to watch this offseason.
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