Draft Open Thread: Here Comes Mingo and Leon (and Not Much Else)

So – remember all that talk about how Joe Banner knew everyone and had talked with every team in the league about trading down?


Oh. Whatever.

I must have been thinking of the Bills.

I guess it’s not that big of a deal because Barkevious Mingo has nowhere to go but up, up, up.

According to those who know, Mingo has “big upside” – as does every other f-ing player selected in the draft. If a team is taking a player that has “no upside”, I would be a little concerned.

Or at the least, he’s another part on a team that is missing quite a few in some other vital areas – something Rob Chudzinski is about to soon realize.

“Adding [Mingo] in the mix gives us another pass rusher and a solid rotation. That group we plan on rotating anyhow between Paul, Jabaal, [Mingo] and also with Quentin [Groves]. You can’t have enough pass rushers, and keeping those guys fresh is a key.”

But then again, according to local sports legend Hiram Boyd, this draft was “easy.” “Just take pass rushers.” And now the Browns have four:

1. Paul Kruger – Who turned in a most opportune Scott Mitchell-esque contract year – on the Ravens no less, a team who if they don’t re-sign their players – it’s probably for a very good reason.
2. Jabaal Sheard – Still the team’s best pass rusher, but likely to be jettisoned for some fourth-round scraps any minute now.
3. Quentin Groves – He could represent the kind of value that Groves himself looks for in a lady of the night.
4. Barkevious Mingo – And then there’s this guy.

Mingo is an extremely explosive pass-rusher off the edge. He gets upfield quickly with the ability to sink his hips to be able to turn the corner to get pointed to the quarterback. Mingo needs to improve his pass-rushing moves to the inside and could use more work on a spin move. He is too reliant on a pure speed rush around the corner. In the NFL, he won’t be able to beat tackles by racing them around the corner on every down.

Mingo was held in check by Texas A&M’s Jake Matthews, the best tackle he battled this season. Against Florida, he had a splash play with a forced fumble, but was creamed in the ground game throughout the second half by the Gators.

Alabama’s right tackle, D.J. Fluker, struggled all year in pass protection, but Mingo was a non-factor against Fluker aside from two plays. Mingo drew a holding penalty and batted down a third-down pass attempt, but overall Fluker kept him from making an impact against the Crimson Tide.


And this can’t be good.

Cleveland Browns: Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU

The Steelers take players like (Jarvis) Jones while the Browns take players like Mingo. That is why Pittsburgh wins and Cleveland picks in the top 10 every year. Mingo is a one-trick pony speed-rusher. The Browns already had some decent edge-rushers in Jabaal Sheard and Paul Kruger. Mingo’s run defense is terrible and he probably will be a situational player at best early in his NFL career, possibly for the entirety of his career.

Cleveland had bigger needs than outside linebacker, but the organization went for a player who is just a projection. Mingo never produced up to his potential in college and it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s the case in the NFL.

Then there’s also the whole thing about Mingo actually peaking early in his college career, while his last two seasons have been marginal. In most respects, this guy could have been a top three pick if he were able to come out two years ago. Granted, the same potential he had then matches to the current day – meaning that there is a great chance Mingo becomes the latest in a long line of first round pass rusher busts.

Or, he simply becomes another piece of a really weird pass rushing rotation in Cleveland.

In all fairness, the Mingo pick is no doubt clouded by the idea that the Browns robbed themselves by taking the guy at 6 without gaining any additional picks. Considering that the Jets were supposedly heavy on Mingo leading up to the draft and based on the desires and extra draft picks that both the Rams and Vikings carried, it seems deflating that the Browns both were unable to improve their draft lot AND reached for a player.


Check in with your thoughts below. Maybe I’m way off here – which is what the COMMENTS are for. And take a look at the newest WEEKLY POLL.


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Comments (52)

  1. jimkanicki

    4th round scraps for Sheard would be relative haul considering the zero draft picks and $630,000 in cap savings received for other notable browns pass-rusher Marcus Benard.


  2. Berlin-T

    As you know I was in favor of taking the best player on the board, Warmack according to most. I really want a stud guard and I hope we can pick one up later in the draft. As far as Mingo goes, who knows? We’ll have to wait and hope for the best. At least this front office has an idea exactly how they want to build the team and are sticking to their plan i.e. their convictions. That’s more than we had in Holmgren.

  3. dan

    I was really hoping for a trade down, but the speed at which the pick was submitted suggests that they were definitely into picking Mingo. I am guessing they probably did not have a trade partner that would give them legitimate value for the pick. Once all of the left tackles were off the board, there was nothing really to trade up for. I am about the same as you, Harumph. I think it was a luxury pick that based on the roster they did not have the luxury of taking. He is athletic though, and still raw, so basically the Ziggy Ansah of OLB’s (obviously to a lesser extent). Lets also hold off on knee jerk grades like the Walter Football one that you posted. The truth is that until the Browns get good, they will never get a good draft grade. In addition, the Steelers didn’t really win last year. Last time I checked they did not make the playoffs, and are in cap hell. So spare me the sensational pontificating about players who have not played one down in the NFL.

    • “Luxury Pick” is an apt description – especially given the ridiculous amount of holes on the Browns’ roster.

      As for not being able to find a trade partner, I think they didn’t sell teams on the possibility of drafting virtually any player. It seems that Banner and Lombardi were bent on total silence rather than throwing out bluff names of players they could take. Look at what happened two spots later when the Bills – a team with basically similar needs as the Browns – bluffed the Rams into a Tavon Austin trade. The Bills took advantage of the Rams’ extra picks and made the deal of the draft so far. Then they took the guy they wanted 8 picks later.

  4. jpftribe

    From a draft-nik perspective, if they could have done the Rams deal, that would seem a steal. tavon Austin for the 16th pick, a second, fourth and seventh rounder, and a swap in the 3rd? Wow. That could’ve netted an actual LB or star TE in round 1, and a starting safety in round 2. Fourth and seventh round picks are pure bonus.

    As for Mingo, for as many scouting reports that criticize his production and potential, there are equal amounts lauding his play in the LSU scheme with unlimited upside. Flip a coin. 240lb DE? Not exactly a sure thing. And if this guy is not a three down player, then you have no business using the 6th pick on him.

    They better pray they get massive pressure on the QB cuz Skrine and Wade are gonna be chasing a lot of downfield receivers.

    One interesting positive I took reading some of the scout game notes; the way he was used in LSU makes me think he could be a real weapon against the read option and an effective spy for mobile QB’s. He was smart at covering safety valve routes and lined up all over the field.

    • Ryan

      Generally agree with this. Worst-case scenario we have another over-drafted mediocre OLB ala Wimbley. For the other side of the Walter Football argument see https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2013/04/25/2013-draft-day-live-blog/

      • That’s encouraging. At least if he doesn’t become a good pass rusher, he can learn to do other things.

        Certainly, there’s an amount of scheme-specific stuff that I don’t know about. It’s just when I watched him play against good offensive tackles, he looked like he was 100 pounds. He got pushed around pretty easily.

        Thanks for the link.

    • Good stuff. Looks like there is some positives regarding his mobility and such. Of course, that can’t hurt against faster offenses. Yet, my worry is that his speed will be neutralized in the NFL and since he’s not a physical player, that’s a huge problem. He could be something in time – but it’s probably going to take a long time. And I’m fairly convinced that Ray Horton is one and done in Cleveland.

      But right – that trade down option would have won the draft. And really, the Bills – the f-ing BILLS – were the team that sold everything perfectly by making teams think they actually wanted Austin and Nassib. They played it beautifully and took advantage of a team who already had a ton of picks to trade.

  5. Max

    It could have been worse. Could have been better, but could have been worse. I have to think three tackles going in the top 4 screwed up their plans, and I doubt that “fallback trade” was in place as Banner suggested. But, it is what it is, hopefully he surprises us.

    Now, if they can just figure a way to get back into the 2nd round and get Jamar Taylor from Boise

    • I would buy that – but then again, look at what the Bills got from the Rams.

      This isn’t some personal thing with Banner – I don’t know the guy. But, the selling point was that he was super-connected to league and supposedly could operate at a higher level. Taking a guy many spots too high and not getting any additional picks is pretty dismal.

      And if the guy taken is a huge project – then the pick becomes very, very questionable. I cannot believe I’m in the minority here.

      • WarbVIII

        You are not,at least from my perspective DK. It was said above by another but this was a luxury pick, Mingo wasn’t the best player nor was he a need pick in the least even if they cut Groves over his arrest. Another waste of a high pick, a colossal waste if he never lives up to expectations,but still a waste if he does. I am not gonna say always go needs,or always go ‘best’ player on the board but this draft should have been one where the Browns choose need over ‘best’ and one of the biggest needs was a pick in round 2..just overall disappointing.

  6. Luke Seubert

    Dave,, I am going to respectfully disagree here and support the Mingo pick. Ansah and Milliner were higher risk picks, due to inexperience or injury/surgery history. Mingo comes with risks too, but fills a major need for a pass rusher. As such, Mingo represents a safe but also sane and sensible pick. Given recent Browns drafting history, this is a substantial improvement.

    Look at what Banner and Lombardi have done with the always problematic Browns quarterback situation. While they haven’t done anything obviously brilliant, they haven’t done anything obviously stupid. They might not draft a Superbowl winning, franchise QB in the 3rd round, or pick one up in a deviously clever trade; but they haven’t botched things either.

    In fact, everything Banner and Lombardi have done with the QB position so far this off-season has been sensible and smart. They saw no QB in the draft obviously better than Weeden, so they didn’t draft one with the 6th pick, thereby wasting a valuable high pick. They actually got a draft pick in the McCoy trade, which is borderline brilliant in a small way. With Campbell, they brought in a big, tall, strong-armed and highly qualified backup QB who fits the Chud/Turner offensive system and the AFC North quite well. Campbell will also provide enough competition for Weeden to spur him to work hard and bring out his best. And if Weeden falls flat due to ineptitude, Campbell is an excellent stop-gap, fallback QB to have on the roster until a better one can be found via draft or trade. If nothing else, the Browns now have one of the best backup QBs in the league, and in the AFC North that can be a very good thing.

    Here is what Banner and Lombardi didn’t do:

    They didn’t bring in an obviously washed up starting QB, only to watch him go down in flames due to injury and age. They didn’t bring in a surly, loner, nepotism-hire, backup QB who doesn’t contribute much to the team and who isn’t very good even as a backup. They didn’t waste a draft pick on a small-framed, short, injury-prone, not very strong-armed quaterback to play in the AFC North with its bad, windy, winter weather and big, bone-crushing pass-rushers. They didn’t draft a shotgun-specialist, gunslinger, big armed QB who doesn’t at all fit in with an under-center, high-precision, short-passing, West Coast offense. They didn’t fail to follow the simple instructions given them to place their one-offer-only bid of draft picks for the #2 pick in the draft to get a franchise QB for the next ten years, not that Shurmer would have had any clue how to win with a franchise quarterback anyway.

    So yeah, while Banner and Lombardi didn’t pull any genius moves to solve the Browns QB problem, they are not lazy and incompetent either. This represents tremendous improvement in front office capability. Just a few years of NOT doing stupid things will result in multiple Browns playoff appearances, if not a Superbowl championship. Plus, you have to give huge props to Lombardi for working his media connections and laying down a magnificent smokescreen of half-truths, rumors, deceit, and obfuscation regarding the Browns draft plans. His Machiavellian deception campaign was a work of art, and quite useful in its own little way.

    I can be as skeptical about Banner and Lombardi as anybody, and back up the skepticism with appeals to their mostly non-existent track record as astute football personnel decision makers. But… given this immediately obvious improvement in smartly handling the Browns quarterback problem despite the limitations and constraints in place; let’s give Banner and Lombardi the benefit of the doubt. They aren’t doing obviously stupid things with the most critical position in professional football. So maybe we can trust that the Mingo pick likewise isn’t stupid, even if it isn’t brilliant?

    If you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least trust Ray Horton who very likely was a strong advocate for drafting Mingo. Of all the new people in this current Browns regime, I am more confident in Horton’s competence than anybody else. Plus, ya gotta love how those cornrows piss off all those uptight, conformist, corporate suits in the NFL league office. ;)

    • You’re basically using the same line of defense that always gets used this time of year:

      Banner/Lombardi are not Holmgren/Heckert, just like Heckert wasn’t Mangini and Mangini wasn’t Savage and Savage wasn’t and so on and so on….

      The point is that Banner and Lombardi took a project player several spots higher than they needed to – at a position that they already targeted in free agency. I fully understand the “best player available” argument, but Mingo wasn’t exactly that type of player. Yet, if they had to have Mingo, they could have worked their “connections” to bring in what the Bills did and then moved back up to grab him several spots lower. Not getting additional picks and sticking at 6 is a huge reach.

      I don’t care about their reputations – now we’re talking about what Banner and Lombardi are actually doing. But if Lombardi was such a Machiavellian success, then why couldn’t he bluff a team like St. Louis, Minnesota or San Fran (teams with multiple picks) to do a deal? If anything, keeping everything such a secret only allowed the Browns to stay right where they drafted. Exactly how was that “useful?”

      As for non-activity regarding the QB position, this hardly determines the quality of personnel decision makers. Going by this rationale, George Kokinis was hands-down the best GM of the expansion era. In all sincerity, you’re giving these guys WAY too much credit.

      Anyway – I “trust” Horton more than I was supposed to “trust” Pat Shurmur’s offensive coaching acuity. But at the same time, if we are to trust Horton so much, couldn’t he have delivered results with Kruger, Sheard and Groves?

      I hope this works out – but right now, this draft is off to a really shaky start. There’s a lot of pressure on what looks to be a situational player.

  7. Luke Seubert

    Holmgren/Heckert get too much credit from Browns fans – they were not good – mediocre at best. In three years they utterly failed at QB, especially their golden opportunity which only comes every three or four years to acquire a franchise quarterback. Heckert blew way, way too many draft picks and too high a draft pick to get injury prone starting and backup running backs. And don’t get me wrong – I loooove Trent Richardson and have very high hopes for him, but he was drafted too high and is injury prone so far. Despite a number of high draft picks, Heckert never got a dominating, All-Pro caliber player. Finally, despite being handed a first class left-tackle and center, in three years Heckert was unable to build a dominating offensive line.

    But, Holmgren/Heckert was the best Cleveland has seen in some 20 years when it comes to drafting, trading, and signing; which tells us how awful the front office has been all these years. This is why Browns fans over-estimate them.

    By so far not doing anything obviously stupid, Banner/Lombardi are doing better than Holmgren/Heckert; and this is real improvement. Don’t blame them for not getting a franchise QB this off-season. Such opportunities only happen once every three to four years at best. Right now, today, the Browns are better off at QB – starting and backup – than they were at any time in years. Intelligently managing the QB position until a franchise quarterback becomes an actual possibility is nothing to be sneezed at. Nobody else in the Browns front office has managed to do it in 20 years.

    Mingo is a project player that comes with risks? True. Can you name any other player available last night at the 6th pick that filled a position of need that wasn’t a project player with risks?

    So they should have traded down instead, you say? In an ideal world, yes, in this draft the trade down was the best possible move. Too bad the most viable opportunity for the Browns to pull off such a move disappeared when Miami traded up. Any other trade possibilities existed in theory, but were not likely. Not in the real world. The chances that a really good pass-rusher would be available much later in the 1st round were slim – making the other trade-down possibilities you raised too risky.

    Sometimes an obvious, All-Pro player isn’t available when you go on the clock. Sometimes, there are no viable trade-down deals to be had. In the real world, not fantasy football world, you make the best choice you can within the very real constraints and limitations that are your lot to deal with.

    Like you, I wish the Browns could have done better last night. I wish they could have pulled off a brilliant draft pick or trade-down with subsequent great picks. But these weren’t probable options, only longed-for options. They did what they could, and it wasn’t a bad move.

    Dave, I agree with you and your skepticism regarding Banner/Lombardi in the long-term. But so far, I haven’t seen them do anything especially dumb. This is real improvement, even if it is grading on quite a curve – a curve of mediocrity sadly all too typical of Browns fans. But just a few years of not-stupid front office moves could build a truly respectable Browns team. Let’s withhold judgment on Banner/Lombardi until we have more data to analyze. For now, they are doing OK.

    • So far, you haven’t seen them do anything dumb. They’ve been here for barely four months. If you’re using that criteria, then again – George Kokinis was the best GM of the expansion era. He was pretty much on the job for four months and didn’t do anything.

      Luke – you’re a smart guy – but your argument is not logical at this point. Now – maybe (and hopefully for Browns’ fans) – you’re proven right in a half a year, one year, two years, etc.

      Right now you’re saying that Mingo is the “best choice” Banner and Lombardi could have been made and Banner and Lombardi are successful by not making any quarterback moves – even though they’ve made two.

      As for Heckert, of course he was overrated – look who he followed. But that doesn’t somehow make Banner and Lombardi’s relative inactivity a positive.

      • WarbVIII

        Both their picks so far were dumb,a project and a short non ballhawk CB,had a longer post on this but it went away into the ether of cyberspace. I just don’t agree with your logic at all Luke…heck don’t think it’s logic as much as hope.

        • I’m fine with the McFadden pick – he’s probably more of a slot corner – which is pretty much as important as a number two corner anymore. And Bess is a good pickup. I just think they’re operating like they’re already a playoff team – when they still have massive needs all over.

          • WarbVIII

            what the heck did we trade for Bess anyway?

          • He’s a good slot receiver. Browns haven’t had one of those since Jurevicius. For a fourth round swap, I’d say it’s a good dea.

          • WarbVIII

            sorry about the double post, no edit was available. so we gave up a 5th and swapped 4s and got a 7th…did we have two 5′s? Unsure,that this is worth it,I know next to nothing about Bess except he was undrafted,has 3 years in the league and we gave him a new contract…just wondering if you know a rookie might have been a better use of money, specifically when picks in the draft are involved. Also does this give us 3 picks in the 7th round? Was disgusted by this draft now I am disgusted and confused…is Lombardi trying to prove he can grab stars in the 7th round or something???

          • The second 5th was from the Colt McCoy trade. Bess is solid and can actually catch the ball, which is a nice change for the Browns. For a 5th round pick, he’s worth it.

            Browns only have two 7th round picks now – the McCoy trade brought the other. Can’t imagine any team is finding great talent that deep in the draft.

          • jpftribe

            Actually, they swapped a fifth for a seventh.

  8. jpftribe

    Mingo is a project player that comes with risks? True. Can you name any other player available last night at the 6th pick that filled a position of need that wasn’t a project player with risks?

    Jonathan Cooper, selected with the very next pick.

  9. JMcAdow

    I, for one, have decided to remain optimistic about Mingo. At least until he blows his Achilles in training camp.

    • SA

      Optimistic is an understatement. Mingo was born to be a Brown, the first 4 letters of his first name are an ode to the dawg pound. What’s not to love about a guy who dresses in Browns’ colors on his draft day? Barkevious Mingo all the way baby. I mean the last great Brown was Jim Brown and his name had a connection to the Browns plus he was a sixth pick. That’s my successometer and I’m sticking to it as no other stat really matters in the post ’99 Browns.

    • Or drops to 180 lbs.

  10. BilliardsBum

    The negativity in this thread is astounding. For starters, since when is a pass rusher a luxury pick for the Browns? I know that we picked up Kruger, but that is no reason to pass on a potentially special player at a premium position; not to mention that we are no longer running Dick Jauron’s bend, but don’t break brand of defense. Just because the Browns did not select the player who you guys (who are not scouts) wanted based off of God knows what (best case scenario reading other opinionated people and watching youtube clips) does not hold as much water as you would like to think. Why don’t you wait until these guys play a couple of games-or a season or two- before you anoint them the second coming or put them on blast as wasted pick. I remember a lot of people lauding the Steelers at this time last year for picking David Decastro (and trashing Mitchell Schwartz) who, when healthy, struggled mightily. In short, two points. 1. Slow your roll armchair draftniks. 2. There is nothing wrong with a little blind support of your team if you do not know any better.

    • I’m not sure of the negativity – it’s more reality given the context. The first round pick was a huge reach. Let’s hope it works out – otherwise, this draft sets the team back in two-three years, as you outlined.

  11. rabiddawg

    Disgusted (but not surprised) by the arrogance displayed by their drafting strategy. Clearly, they waited to pick until they found value, behold the versatility of Mr Slaughter:

    Terrible day

    • It’s just a strange strategy to trade picks away. I can see the logic that maybe next year’s draft is better, but at the same time – not finding any prospects in the middle rounds speaks volumes to some scouting inadequacies.

      • rabiddawg

        To your point, I was listening and reading the statements by the players. Leon, our 3rd rounder, was never approached or had any indication that the Browns were going to take him. But our 6/7 round picks all had conversations. This says a lot about how in-depth our personnel department went, I’m sure it was just the hi-sign from Sipe and that was how our 3rd rounder was spent. Which, when you don’t even have a deep enough watchlist to viably get through round 4, how can you not make sure you’re building with the right blocks? Sketchy…

        We are clearly not going after Mangini guys under the new regime (armonty was arrested for dealing pot with an undercover cop, so he and quentin are going to be two peas in a pod).

        • Something doesn’t add up. It’s one thing to say that you’re piling picks for next year (supposedly a better draft). But to pretty much withdraw and “wait until next year” signals that either:

          1. The Browns’ front office is vastly superior in their scouting knowledge as compared to every other team in the league (who all have to be suckers for actually drafting players).

          2. There wasn’t much overall preparation done in the first place.

      • jpftribe

        That assumes it was a strategy. I find it more than an odd coincidence that the Giants traded up in front of the Browns and took Nassib, then Lombardi trades the pick.

        Next round, Seahawks trade in front of the Browns, when they already had a pick in front of them, to take a 6’2″ CB. Then Lombardi trades the pick.

        My suspicion, someone from the Heckert era telegraphed what the Browns were gonna do and Lombardi punted.

        They could have had Barrett Jones with that 4th rounder. How is that not “value”?

        Banner is not getting any luv from me here on out. If his measure of success is cap space, beating the steelers on trade and stock piling mid round draft choices, we have a fucking problem Houston.

        • I’m just not sure how these guys can take a look at a draft and basically say “no thanks.” Even if this was considered the worst draft in 20 years (which is really wasn’t), good teams find players all throughout the draft – or at least TRY to find them. To basically pull out of a draft – especially when your team has very limited talent and depth – is just unheard of.

          • Gary Collins

            The only carryover from the previous regime were the scouts – and here’s a big cant trust any of those guys.

            So instead of trying to watch film in berea and guess, they punted into next years draft, moving up a round each time. There’s a certain “lets coach these guys up and see what we’ve got attitude” too.

            If they can parlay an easier schedule to 8-8 AND have enough firepower to get to trade to a top 6 pick next year, then they’ll have been right.

          • That’s a pretty big “if” there.

          • Gary Collins

            And haven’t we been bemoaning that ALL the problems of the last 13 years was because we DIDNT trade back in 1999 until we had more stability in the front office and scouting department?

          • I’ve always said that the Browns were doomed in 1999. Even if they had taken the Saints’ trade that year, Dwight Clark was making the picks. 3 guys out of 23 (1999 and 2000) were still on NFL rosters five years later.

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