The Cleveland Browns had some clear needs at cornerback heading heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, but they instead decided to go with DE Barkevious Mingo with the sixth overall pick. It was a bit surprising to hear Mingo’s name called instead of CB Dee Milliner, but after my initial reaction, I fully understood why the Browns went with Mingo. As it turns out, the Browns took corner Leon McFadden with their next selection in the third round, anyway.
So what does Mingo do for the Browns?
He’s projected to be a prototypical hybrid DE/LB in defensive coordinator Ray Horton‘s 3-4 scheme. That’s ultimately what all the analysts kept coming back to, Mingo fits the system in Cleveland. They are no doubt taking a chance with him at No. 6, because he’s really more of a mid-first round guy, but he also has a ton of potential. I don’t think you can really call this a ‘bad’ pick. You can disagree with the decision to take a hybrid player over a corner, but the defense still got better.
I don’t think it’s a question of whether Mingo will be effective in the NFL, it’s just a matter of how effective. He’s got the physical attributes and the speed to be a success, especially in the 3-4 system he’ll be playing in.
The Browns have done a very good job adding talent to their defense so far this offseason. In addition to Mingo and McFadden, they added S Jamoris Slaughter and DE Armonty Bryant via the draft, and they also inked free agent LB Paul Kruger, who will be looking to have a breakout season.
All of these players, especially Mingo, should help Cleveland take that next step on defense. They were already a solid unit in 2012, and with all of these upgrades, fans should be feeling pretty optimistic about the future.
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