It's safe to say that Barkevious Mingo's junior season at LSU didn't go according to plan.
The junior defensive end for the Tigers finished the season with 8.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and 38 tackles. Hardly the type of season that's expected of a superstar defensive end in the SEC.
While Mingo's final season in Baton Rouge wasn't as dominant as head coach Les Miles probably envisioned, his future in the NFL looks incredibly bright following his sizzling performance at the NFL Scouting Combine over the weekend.
Some questioned Mingo's size, but the 6'4", 241-pounder showed off just how athletic he is, with a 4.58 40-yard dash, 37-inch vertical jump, 128-inch broad jump and a three-cone drill of 6.84 seconds. Mingo finished in the top five among defensive lineman in all four categories.
But it wasn't just his measurables that made the jaws of scouts drop. His size, speed and quickness make him a very attractive linebacker option in a 3-4 defense at the next level. According to USA Today, Mingo also went through several linebacker drills and impressed at every turn.
Just how impressive was he?
His draft projections find him all over the first round due in large part to the fact that his status as a "project" fluctuates based on team and scheme. Bleacher Report's Lead NFL Draft Writer Matt Miller projects Mingo to go 15th to the New Orleans Saints in his post-combine mock draft, but notes that he has been projected anywhere from fifth to 25th.
While his draft status may be uncertain, there's no doubt that Mingo will be a star at the next level.
He will have to put on a little bit of weight to be able to play at the next level, and certainly has work to do against the run, but scouts won't be able to ignore how physically gifted Mingo is. He's the type of player that can absolutely blossom into a star and will likely win the bet that he has with former Tiger teammate Sam Montgomery on who gets drafted first.
In an age where combine stats are incredibly overrated and game tape doesn't lie, Mingo may be the exception. He's going to be a project no matter where he's drafted, but his upside is through the roof.
NFL scouts saw why at Lucas Oil Stadium over the weekend.
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