First Round, Sixth Pick
Barkevious Mingo only had 4.5 sacks in 2012, but that isn't keeping his name out of the top 5-10 discussion in the 2013 NFL Draft. Let's break down the game of this prospect that has created a"split" among NFL people about how good he'll be, according to Russ Lande of the National Football Post.
Mingo is athletically gifted for a long-framed defensive end. His first step as he springs out of his three-point stance is sudden, and he possesses one of the best spin moves of the 2013 Draft class. He has a knack for batting down balls and disrupting passing lanes when his pass rush is thwarted. Mingo is highly aware of the flow of the action and can affect plays with second and third efforts.
On the downside, Mingo flashes moments of surprising strength from his lankier frame, but doesn't consistently play with strength or a physical edge. He can be steered easily by run or pass blockers, and he has trouble shaking a blocker once they get their hands on him. Mingo is around the action, but seems to be a half-step behind it when it's time to make the play. In general, he doesn't give blockers as much trouble as someone with his physical gifts should.
Mingo's 6'4" 230 pound frame is NFL ready and he is generally a fluid, flexible, explosive, sudden athlete. Those long arms can help him keep offensive linemen at bay when he is rushing the passer. Mingo has excellent ups and can hang in the air to deflect passes. His rare athleticism allows him to change direction and react with more quickness than defenders with his build usually have.
Mingo has no known character issues and is generally thought of as a hard-working player. He raises the level of play of his teammates and gives full effort from snap to whistle.
Mingo almost exclusively played left defensive end with his hand on the ground and squared off with the opponent's right tackle. He often lined up in an exaggerated "wide" stance similar to Philadelphia's "wide nine" that asks the defensive end to attack the tackle from a more severe angle.
Mingo has a sprinter's first step, but it rarely results in a direct path to the quarterback. He can still be redirected away from or past the passer easily, and doesn't effectively harness his quickness and explosiveness to get the blocker off balance. Mingo occasionally hits the blocker in the chest with a jolt and successfully bull rushes his way into the pocket, but he is usually not a match for his opponent in terms of strength. While he does generate some pressure and force the issue with the quarterback, he rarely seals the deal with a strong final move and is not a a true "sack artist" when he gets within striking distance of the quarterback.
When he is thwarted, Mingo does an outstanding job watching the quarterback and timing a lofty leap to get his hand on the ball. He can take away passing lanes with this ability, too. Mingo is fast and aware enough to get out into the flat to defend screens or outlet passes. In general, Mingo never gives up on the play and can affect it well after his first effort is defeated.
Against the Run
Mingo can get drive blocked right out of the play pretty easily by larger competition, but if he can get his hands on the blocker and extend his arms, he can hold up at the point of attack and set the edge on outside runs. That allows him to get free in time to get in the play and make a difference in pursuit, where he is very swift for a defensive end.
Bigger blockers also have little trouble walling Mingo off, and he'll probably see a lot of running plays come to his side of the field because of this. He is determined while defending the run, but Mingo is not stout, and much like when he's getting after the quarterback, he is usually at best a half-beat behind the play at the moment of truth.
Mingo's strength/physicality deficit is exacerbated by poor tackling. He mostly lunges at ballcarriers and quarterbacks, which makes him easy to elude. When Mingo can line up a basically stationary target, he does wrap up like a form tackler, but that is rare. He can be mindful of opportunities to rip at and strip the ball, but in one-on-one situations, Mingo sometimes fails to even get a hand on his quarry.
Use of Hands
Mingo is not shy about handfighting and can stagger his opponent when he gets into their chest. He is much better as the aggressor, but Mingo still lacks a variety of strategies or maneuvers to use his hands to defeat a blocker. His best handfighting comes when he uses his long arms to keep an offensive lineman from getting their hands on him. Mingo struggles to free himself from his opponent once they latch on, but he does give steady effort and usually eventually escapes from their grasp.
I like this idea from Josh Norris of Rotoworld:
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -- DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
This is all based on a guess for scheme fit. Gus Bradley’s scheme featured a run stuffing defensive end in Seattle, likely a role Tyson Alualu can play. On the opposite side, the Jaguars need a pass rusher whose main goal is to get to a point in the backfield and disrupt while penetrating. Mingo can line up from the 7 or 9 technique and do this quite well. Don’t get caught up in his dip in production, since it appeared Mingo was asked to take less aggressive lines at the QB in order to keep contain.
The LEO position in Gus Bradley's defense would fit well with Mingo's scheme-diverse skill set. Mingo has the length and frame to add the weight to be a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme, but he also is more than athletic enough to play OLB in a 3-4 defense. He should appeal to defensive coordinators that want to run a hybrid defense. Mingo can fit in either scheme, but he either needs to bulk up or learn the 3-4 OLB position.
Draft Projection: Top 5-15