Barkevious Mingo is hungry, figuratively and literally


Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo

In 2013, as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine designed a scheme that helped generate 57 sacks, second most in the NFL.

That's music to the ears of linebacker Barkevious Mingo, of course.

"Heck, yeah," Mingo said with a smile as the Browns began voluntary workouts this week. "Because we have so many guys that can get to the quarterback. Jabaal Sheard, Paul Kruger … so many guys. We've got playmakers."

Without a doubt, Mingo can include himself as one of those playmakers. A first-round selection in 2013, Mingo flashed the skill set of being a primary pass rusher, totaling a sack in each of his first three games.

But his blazing start veered off course. In the remaining 12 games, Mingo posted only two sacks. While he was one of the top overall rookies in sack numbers and second on the Browns with five, Mingo knows he's capable of doing more.

A player the Browns are hoping Mingo aligns himself with is fellow first-round pick Robert Quinn. As a rookie in 2011, the St. Louis Rams' pass rusher showed the same potential Mingo did with five sacks. After some tweaking his second year, Quinn totaled an impressive 10.5 sacks. And last season the North Carolina product legitimately became a monster, finishing second in the NFL with 19.

"When you improve and make plays, they have to account for you," Mingo said of how opponents studied him. "They have film on you. They know what you do best. For me, it's all about getting back into the playbook. I feel like I have a better understanding for how to prepare for games."

Mingo was busy this offseason completing his sports administration degree from LSU. He has also been working on a concept relatively of new to him: adding weight.

Mingo, who was listed at 240 pounds as a rookie, didn't want to reveal his current weight, but did say he frequented Johnny's, a pizza parlor in his hometown of West Monroe, La. Mingo's favorite pizza is called "Hogs Heaven," featuring Canadian bacon, bacon, sausage, Andouille sausage, and jalapeños.

"It's been really hard because I still burn it off; I can eat what I want," said Mingo, who included Wing Stop as another one of his favorite offseason eateries.

Back in Ohio, Mingo's appetite will only grow – in more than one way. Mingo feels the hunger in every part of the Browns facility in Berea. "There's definitely a change in the building, and I like it," Mingo said. "I'm excited to see where we are going. And I'm just psyched to play football."

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