Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/29/13
The fates of many NFL teams are shaped by the players they select in the Draft. Quarterbacks have always been the coveted position necessary for a team to win it all.  The only problem is there is only a handful each year thought to be able do just that. Teams know the next best option is to find a guy that can make the quarterback view the heavens above, instead of the field below.  With the NFL Draft less than a month away, is Barkevious Mingo the type of player that will make the quarterback wish he was carrying a clipboard, instead of calling plays in the huddle?For Barkevious Mingo it doesn’t matter that his first name is hard to pronounce, because the only thing linemen will be seeing is his last name, “Mingo”, as they watch him engulf the ball carrier. Mingo’s speed can be traced back to the track in high school where he ran. As a junior, it was there his speed was noticed, and it was there he was persuaded to switch to football cleats.  He obviously wasn’t bad tracking down people, as his play earned him a chance to play for LSU, a team known for defense.   Mingo lived up to the defensive lore of LSU, as he wreaked havoc on opposing teams, and now is regarded as one of the top defensive prospects in this year’s NFL Draft.  Vitals Height: 6’4” Weight: 241 Position: DE School: LSU Class: Junior  College Production/StatsMingo’s stats don’t leap of the page like some other highly touted prospects; that has more to do with the depth LSU had along the front seven, and not his talent.  Despite this depth, he was awarded freshman All-SEC after recording 35 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He followed this up with being named second-team All-SEC after recoding 46 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks. Mingo finished his college career with 119 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles.    2013 NFL Combine:  4.58 seconds in the 40-yard dash, 37.0” vertical jump StrengthsAs evident by his extremely fast 40-yard dash time, speed is one of Mingo’s biggest strengths. He has a cat-quick first step that helps him get past the offensive lineman, and the closing speed to track down running backs.   Although not dominant, he is above-average against the run. NFL scouts are high on his 33 ¾” arm length in which he utilized to finish second on the team with six passes defensed as a freshman.  His speed and length make him effective in coverage. Mingo will probably be utilized as a pass-rusher at the next level. WeaknessesMingo has a lean build and he lacks the strength to consistently beat linemen with power at the next level. He needs to develop more technique so he won’t have to rely purely on speed.  He needs to become a more dominant run defender, particularly improving on setting the edge, to prevent plays from getting outside. He has long legs which sometimes cause him to get off-balance.   Potential Landing SpotsThe Philadelphia Eagles would be a good fit for Mingo. They are usually known for getting to the quarterback, but they finished tied for 25th in the league last year with only 30 sacks. He would be a big improvement for a defense looking to rebound on last year’s lackluster performance.  Speaking of rebounding, the New York Jets could definitely use some of that. They finished tied for 25th in the league in sacks as well, and with their non-existent offense that produced the “butt fumble,” they could definitely use all the help they can get on defense.  Draft ProjectionExperts are already projecting Mingo as an outside linebacker in the NFL. Furthermore, most are projecting him as the top outside linebacker in the Draft.Quite a few analysts see him being drafted by the Jets with the 9th pick, the Tennessee Titans with the 10th pick, or the New Orleans Saints with the 15th overall pick.  NFL ComparisonThe current NFL player Mingo reminds me of is Cameron Wake. Wake isn’t known as a tackling machine, but more of a guy that uses his speed and agility to make plays. Like Mingo, Wake has more of a slim build, so he prefers to chase down the play, instead of having to hold his ground at the point of attack. Finally, they each possess the top-end speed to chase down running backs.  
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