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Even Jake Matthews had trouble slowing down Mingo.
Barkevious Mingo was the best pass-rusher in the 2013 NFL draft, but he fell down the board behind the more versatile Dion Jordan and athletic freak Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah.
Mingo was the 29th overall player in Matt Miller’s final rankings, 10th on Mel Kiper Jr.’s big board (subscription required), 10th in CBS.com’s rankings, 10th in Mike Mayock’s Top 100 prospects and ninth on NFL.com. Mingo was lower than Jordan and Ansah on every one of those.
Mingo is going to prove those experts wrong. Ansah is a boom-or-bust pick, but despite his workout numbers, I don’t think he’ll ever be as good at getting the quarterback as Mingo. Jordan may be versatile, but he doesn’t do anything great right now, and that includes getting after the quarterback.
Mingo is the most polished pass-rusher in this class, and he’s also the most explosive coming off the edge. He also has a nonstop motor, which is something you can’t necessarily say about the two pass-rushers who were ranked ahead of him.
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport's tweet on April 22 proves that some teams may have had their board right:
When you talk about situation, Mingo could not have asked for a better one. Ray Horton is the defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and will maximize Mingo’s talent immediately.
Last season at LSU, Mingo was tasked with containing the run. He did it well, but it hurt his sack production. Horton will let Mingo pin his ears back and go after the quarterback more regularly.
Scouts have made the mistake of overvaluing stats, as if they determine if a player will be successful in the NFL. Scouts have also made the mistake of overdrafting potential based on combine athletic testing and versatile players with potential.
Rarely has a scout made a mistake on a player with a great motor and amazing athletic ability who played the best competition in college football and was impressive on tape. My only criticism of Mingo is that he misses too many open-field tackles, but that shouldn't be a problem if he’s always hitting the quarterback in the backfield.
Mingo will have more sacks than Ansah or Jordan and be a better player in 2013 and beyond. The experts got this one wrong; Mingo should have been the first pass-rusher off the board.