LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo is a polarizing prospect, but after his showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, he proved that he is worth a top-10 pick in the 2013 draft.
Mingo’s problem is that his talent and his production do not match up.
According to NFL.com, he ran a 4.58-second 40-yard dash, has a 37-inch vertical leap, 128-inch broad jump and ran the three-cone drill in 6.84 seconds. These are stunning numbers that showed just how explosive of an athlete Mingo truly is.
His physical gifts led many draftniks to project him as the top overall pick early on in the 2012 college football season. But as a junior, he finished with 38 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
These are respectable numbers, but they certainly do not shout “top-10 pick.” In fact, Mingo’s teammate Sam Montgomery—who is also a top prospect in the draft—outperformed him and recorded eight sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
Mingo was a project in college, and much of what he learned likely won’t apply when he reaches the NFL.
He played defensive end at LSU, but at 6’4” and just 241 pounds, he projects as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Any team that drafts him will do so based on his freakish athleticism and will be fully aware that Mingo will need plenty of work on his technique.
Ultimately, Mingo’s physical gifts make him work as a top-10 pick. He has the speed and explosiveness to be an incredible pass-rusher.
But Mingo is not going to go first overall to the Kansas City Chiefs, and among the other teams in the top 10, only the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4 and New York Jets at No. 9 use a 3-4 defense.
Philadelphia is an intriguing landing spot for Mingo as it will be switching to the scheme this season and will need to add players at outside linebacker in order to facilitate the change.
The Jets will also be looking to bolster their pass rush in the draft after recording just 30 sacks last season, which tied them for 25th in the NFL.
There are other talented players such as Dion Jordan and Ziggy Ansah who can play outside linebacker in a 3-4. These players are also excellent athletes, and Jordan is a very similar player to Mingo, but the combine shows that the former Tiger’s speed and burst is unparalleled among other pass-rushers in this draft.
Both the Eagles and Jets could do much worse than Mingo with their first-round pick.