Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports
Early opinions on outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo have been split. Some believe he is a one-trick pony who can only rush the passer, while others believe he has the potential to be a well-rounded player like San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.
Under defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Mingo will have the opportunity to learn from one of the brightest defensive minds in football. This, in turn, will help him evolve into a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
Even though Mingo’s sack totals tailed off last season, San Diego Chargers offensive tackle D.J. Fluker and Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel showered the No. 6 overall pick in this year’s draft with praise.
"He's a freak athlete," Joeckel told Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. "He's long, he's fast, he's got a good jump on the ball. His speed immediately jumps out at you on tape."
"He's so quick, I'm surprised he's not playing safety," said Fluker, who spoke specifically about Mingo’s strength and work ethic.
In all likelihood, the 22-year-old rookie will be used as a situational pass-rusher. He will be given the freedom to provide game-changing plays by pinning his ears back and relentlessly attacking the quarterback.
Browns fans should be overjoyed because they will have the chance to watch one of the most improved linebacking corps in the league, thanks to Mingo.