LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo has created a lot of buzz in recent months, but he totaled only 4.5 sacks as a senior. Is he worth the hype?
When it comes down to it, there are two essential traits you need in every position: size and speed. Characteristics like stamina and strength are certainly important, but they can be improved upon. Players can’t change their height and, for the most part, they can’t alter their natural speed.
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Barkevious Mingo has size and speed like no other pass-rusher in this draft. At 6’5’’, 240 pounds, many are worried that Mingo is “too small” to play in the NFL. I’d be more worried about how my team is going to stop a defensive end with optimal length and elite (truly elite) speed. Mingo is rumored to have run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, and that kind of athlete doesn’t come around too often.
As a pass-rusher, Mingo is as explosive as they come; he gets off of the snap better than any prospect in the class. Mingo uses the prototypical “finesse” pass-rusher moves—he’s got a top spin move—but he rarely overpowered anyone, even at LSU.
That’s true in the running game as well, where Mingo will need to improve if he’s to become a starter in the NFL. He certainly has the ability to make big plays in the backfield, but he doesn’t hold up at the point-of-attack. Mingo pursues the ball-carrier well, but not if he’s forced to fight through traffic. The concern for any team drafting him in the first round is if he’ll be a situational pass-rusher to start.
NFL Comparison: Bruce Irvin
These days, one-dimensional players can get selected in the first round. Irvin—a similarly undersized defensive end who got drafted by the Seahawks with the 15th overall pick in 2012—recorded eight sacks as a rookie. Mingo is an even better athlete than Irvin.
Consensus rankings have Mingo rated anywhere from the single-digits to the late teens. I think he’ll eventually rise to be a top 10 pick because one team will recognize his combination of length and speed is so rare, but there’s a chance that Mingo falls into the teens because teams view him as too “situational.”
Fit in Dallas
I think Mingo is a player that could benefit the ‘Boys. Dallas will desperately need a better pass-rush in their new 4-3 defense; actually, the entire efficacy of the scheme relies on pressure without blitzing. No, Mingo isn’t your prototypical 4-3 defensive end, but who cares? He has a frame that can add some bulk, allowing him to contribute in nickel situations as a rookie and then transition into the starting lineup. I have a feeling the Cowboys think differently and might not even consider Mingo if he falls to them, let alone trading up for him.
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Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.