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Browns coaches ready to give Barkevious Mingo chance to 'be the best' at what he does

Hue Jackson is fine with whatever outsiders want to call Barkevious Mingo.

The Browns coach knows what he has in store for the fourth-year linebacker, and he's not concerned with the label.

"He's a linebacker, hybrid, whatever you want to call him, but we're going to put him in a spot to showcase his talent and ability and that's what our job is with all of these players," Jackson said at last week's NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida. "We got to give them a chance to be the best at what they do. That's what coaching is all about."

That process -- behind the scenes, at least -- will begin next week when players return to Berea for offseason workouts and continue when Cleveland goes through its minicamp, OTAs and training camp. For Mingo, the former first-round pick out of LSU, the opportunity awaits for him to establish a role in a defensive system that allowed him to post the best numbers of his career as a rookie in 2013.

Under defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Mingo appeared in 15 games with three starts and compiled 42 tackles and five sacks. He also showed his value in coverage, a trait that remained one of his top strengths despite a drop-off in pass rushing production, with eight passes defensed.

Mingo played through a shoulder injury throughout his second NFL season and started 11 games. This past year, he appeared in all 16 games in a reduced role after missing most of training camp with a knee injury.

Jackson's been encouraged by what he's heard about Mingo throughout the offseason. That's what makes Monday all the more exciting.

"Our plan is to put him in position where he can make plays. We have to find a place for him because of his skill set," Jackson said. "He is able to run, he's long and obviously everyone wants to put weight on him, and I think we'll be impressed. I think he's got his weight up and I can't wait to see him in person. The guy has some characteristics you like but he needs to come be a big-time football player for us."

Horton wants that kind of mentality from Mingo when he's back in the facility. An open mind, too.

"Hopefully, he will come in and say, 'I embrace what you are trying to do with me, and I'll do whatever you ask me to do,'" Horton said. "We have to do something to utilize his God-given ability."

As Pro Days ramp up ahead of the NFL Draft, take a look back at the Browns during their own Pro Days.

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