Barkevious Mingo has not spent much time in the northern part of the country, but he was impressed with what he saw when he visited with the Cleveland Browns during the pre-draft process.
Obviously, the Browns felt the same way, as they added him to defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s stable of pass-rushers with the No. 6 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday evening.
“I fell in love with the city, and now, I have a chance to play there,” Mingo said. “I talked to Coach Horton, and we pretty much went over just how they wanted to use me in this scheme. We talked about football; they wanted to get to know me as a person, and that was pretty much the extent of my visit there.
“I’m very excited. I’m a National Football League player. It’s a lifelong dream, and I get to play for a team that loves football. Coming from my visit, Coach Horton informed me of how the tradition of the organization is, and how much the fans love their city, and it really made me want to play there.”
Shortly after the pick was announced, coach Rob Chudzinski and chief executive officer Joe Banner said they were “extremely excited” to add Mingo because of what he brings to the team both on and off the field.
“The first thing that stood out was the kind of person that he is, outstanding character, extremely highly recommended from the people down there (at LSU),” Chudzinski said. “He came in for a visit and we spent the day with him. He’s an extremely impressive young man, somebody that we felt like we strongly wanted to be able to put in our locker room and become part of the team. His athleticism speaks for itself. He’s an extremely gifted athlete, explosive, great speed off the edge, and is a developing player.”
Banner added, “We’ve been talking about the same themes, very high-character, very hard-working, extraordinarily competitive. We’ve talked about bringing in aggressive players to play in an aggressive scheme. He fits that very well, so this was the outcome we were hoping for. We feel very good about this.”
In addition to his character, the Browns liked Mingo’s ability to get to opposing quarterbacks.
In three years at LSU, Mingo registered 15 sacks for 108 lost yards. He made a career-high eight quarterback sacks for 60 lost yards during his redshirt sophomore season in 2011, and is looking forward to continuing that ability to rush the passer as an outside linebacker in the NFL.
“It all starts with pass rush in this league,” Chudzinski said. “You have to be able to get after the passer and affect him in that way. There’s too many good quarterbacks, and if they can drop back, they can still beat good corners because they have time to throw and they’re accurate. Trying to affect the quarterback with a pass rush helps your backend significantly.”
Mingo said he wants to add to the Browns’ pass rush.
“I just have the want to get there, high energy, quick first step, burst to the ball, and that’s what they liked about me,” Mingo said. “That’s what they wanted to add to their team, and I feel that I can bring that.
“I’ll be as good as I want to be, and I want to be great. I want to be one of those guys that gets their names in Canton, Ohio, and be a dominant player. I think I’m the best pass-rusher, and week one in the preseason, I’ll get to show that.”