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SmashMouth 03-26-2013 08:36 PM

Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
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The New Orleans Saints' coaches and scouts always come in full force to LSU's Pro Timing Day, just up the road in Baton Rouge. But this year, they'll be more invested than usual.

LSU defensive end Barkevious Mingo is exactly the kind of dynamic pass rusher that the Saints so badly need on the edge of their new 3-4 defense. And he might be available when the Saints are on the clock with the 15th pick in next month's NFL draft.

They seem like a great match. But that's a lot easier for me to say than for the teams investing the premium pick and the big money that goes with it. What really matters is how much of a leap of faith the Saints or the teams picking in front of them are willing to take on Mingo's dazzling potential.

There's really not much Mingo can do to help his draft stock during Wednesday's showcase on LSU's campus.

NFL teams are already enamored with his athletic ability and all of the size, speed and strength "measurables" that the 6-foot-4, 241-pounder can flaunt in a setting like this. That's why many analysts project him as a top-10 pick.

The only concerns with Mingo are whether he can be just as dazzling ON the football field.

Last year as a junior at LSU, Mingo had just 4 sacks - though he was often facing double teams. And because of his smaller stature, Mingo likely will be asked to make a position switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme like the one the Saints are installing.

As a result, Mingo has been repeatedly described as the draft prospect with the most "boom or bust" potential in this year's class.

The NFL Network's Mike Mayock has remained one of the most skeptical forecasters when it comes to Mingo. Though he appreciates the enticing potential, Mayock has described him as a "developmental 3-4 outside linebacker" and said he wouldn't want to draft him in the top 20.
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"From my perspective, best case he's the second half of the first round," Mayock told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. "He could go higher than that. This is a funky kind of draft. And there are a lot of guys that are ranked about the same. So somebody could fall in love with his speed and upside and take him higher.

"But from my perspective I still wouldn't want to get him until somewhere in the 20s, 30s. I think he's a pass-rush only guy right now. I think he's going to struggle against any kind of run game. But his game does fit today's NFL, which is a pass-first league.

"So the 3-4 teams are going to look at him as an outside linebacker, and the 3-4 teams are going to have to decide whether he's a pass-rushing specialist as a defensive end or if they want to try to develop him as an every-down will linebacker."

Mayock offered 2012 draft pick Bruce Irvin as a good comparable for Mingo.

The Seattle Seahawks surprised most observers by taking Irvin with the 15th pick out of West Virginia, when he was projected to be drafted lower. But the pick panned out well for them, when Irvin tallied eight sacks as a rookie backup.

"Irvin was 245 pounds, Mingo is 241. Mingo's an inch longer. But Irvin was faster in the 10, faster in the 40 and faster in both shuttles. I also think Irvin was further developed as a pass rusher at this point in his career," Mayock said. "But I think that gives you a kind of height-weight-speed comp guy."

Although most draft analysts express some form of caution or curiosity when it comes to evaluating Mingo, they almost all expect that some team will roll the dice early on his potential.

Former NFL front-office executives Pat Kirwan, Gil Brandt and Charley Casserly recently projected Mingo to be drafted fifth, sixth and seventh in their respective mock drafts - Kirwan for CBSSports.com and Brandt and Casserly for NFL.com.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Mingo seventh on his "Big Board" of draft prospects. Former NFL player scout Bucky Brooks ranks Mingo ninth on his Big Board for NFL.com. And ESPN's Todd McShay ranks Mingo 11th.

"After watching a few more LSU games, especially the Washington game, I can see the rare athletic ability in Mingo," Kirwan wrote. "He reminds me of (former NFL star) Jason Taylor but quicker."

Kiper wrote that the "freak factor" is a huge reason he rates Mingo so high and said his "ceiling is the sell."
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"Mingo is a freak athlete, and could become a star with the right coaching," Kiper wrote.

Other media analysts lean more toward Mayock's skepticism, ranking him in the lower teens - such as NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah, CBS/NFL Draft Scout's Rob Rang and Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke.

"There's some who aren't as high on him as people may think just because he played so light. He was not productive this year," Jeremiah told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune last month. "You can watch him in four or five games and you can see him not make five plays. He's incredibly athletic and that's all pretty, but at the end of the day, you look down at your paper and you look for the impact plays that you've written down and they don't exist.

"He did not have a good year. He was much better the year before. He played more snaps this year, which didn't help."

Mingo, meanwhile, has remained confident in his draft prospects. And he hasn't been as down on his 2012 performance as other observers. He has pointed out that he and fellow standout defensive end Sam Montgomery faced a lot of schemes designed to double-team or chip-block them. And they also were asked to play more containment defense at times against some mobile quarterbacks.

As for the transition to linebacker, that was actually Mingo's position when he was a high school standout at West Monroe. And that's what he was recruited to play at LSU before he made the position switch.

Ultimately, teams like the Saints will have to weigh what they see on film from Mingo and what they see in his athletic potential.

At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis last month, Mingo ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds - the second-fastest time among defensive ends. He also ranked among the leading defensive ends in the vertical jump (37 inches), broad jump (128) and three-cone drill (6.84). It's possible he will choose to skip some of those drills Wednesday and stand on his combine performance.

Mingo won't be the only LSU player drawing the attention of the Saints and legions of other NFL teams Wednesday - not by a long shot. The Tigers had a whopping 13 draft prospects invited to the combine this year, among a handful of other NFL hopefuls.

Montgomery, linebacker Kevin Minter and safety Eric Reid could all sneak into the first round. And all of them could fit the Saints' defense, which needs reinforcements everywhere. Unfortunately, the Saints don't have a second-round pick, so they would likely have to trade down for additional picks to consider drafting any of those three players.

Offensive tackle Chris Faulk, cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, defensive end Lavar Edwards, defensive tackle Bennie Logan and cornerback Tharold Simon are mid-round prospects that could also potentially interest the Saints.

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Danno 03-26-2013 08:40 PM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
With our recent draft suckage, I'd prefer to stay away from the boom or bust players. I have a bad feeling I know which direction he'd take as a Saint.

Then again, that may be 40 plus years of mostly fail screaming inside my melon.

hagan714 03-26-2013 09:39 PM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock has remained one of the most skeptical forecasters when it comes to Mingo. Though he appreciates the enticing potential, Mayock has described him as a "developmental 3-4 outside linebacker" and said he wouldn't want to draft him in the top 20.

i am with him on this opinion. last years play was awful in so many respects. then the gambling and taking plays off came out and to me it all made sense. football IQ aside that was so freaking stupid to admit. street smarts zero.

dizzle88 03-27-2013 06:31 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by hagan714 (Post 490181)
The NFL Network's Mike Mayock has remained one of the most skeptical forecasters when it comes to Mingo. Though he appreciates the enticing potential, Mayock has described him as a "developmental 3-4 outside linebacker" and said he wouldn't want to draft him in the top 20.

i am with him on this opinion. last years play was awful in so many respects. then the gambling and taking plays off came out and to me it all made sense. football IQ aside that was so freaking stupid to admit. street smarts zero.

I think mayock is correct most of the time and his opinion is valued, I agree with you hagan

For a player to admit not playing full speed against chosen opponents is a major red flag for me, that is not a real football player

xan 03-27-2013 06:41 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
Since he won't be available, let's move on.

hagan714 03-27-2013 06:55 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
see i do not buy into after the season hype as much for major conferences like sec and stick with end of the season as a good guideline. in this case i never really bought into it from square one. maybe money will get him to play. he is one of media loves this year. such a waste of DE talent for LSU. Both of them

i do think the point of coaching is solid. I think all LSU fans should raise an eyebrow at the entire coaching staff at LSU over this. Les is a winner but he aint no champion and this maybe answer. Who is in control of that locker room?

I think there is a Very good chance he will be there at 15. He is one player that has great chance of dropping like rock in the draft.

TheOak 03-27-2013 06:59 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
Sometimes these forums remind me of playing bourre with my in laws...

That hand is over, can we move on. lol

fischware 03-27-2013 08:49 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
He won't go until the 3rd round; the statement he made will cost him.

tiger_bait 03-27-2013 10:04 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dizzle88 (Post 490230)
I think mayock is correct most of the time and his opinion is valued, I agree with you hagan

For a player to admit not playing full speed against chosen opponents is a major red flag for me, that is not a real football player

I am unaware of Mingo ever admitting he took plays off guys...Sam Montgomery admitted that but I have not seen anywhere Mingo saying he took plays off....yeah he may have made some bets in private for fun and motivation that werent met to go public but who cares....I am not saying draft Mingo but can someone give me a link where Mingo said he took plays off

hagan714 03-27-2013 10:12 AM

Re: Drafting LSU's Barkevious Mingo would require a leap of faith from New Orleans Saints
 
yeah but to have Montgomery even hint at this hurts him big time. it stinks but even in America you are guilty first and once that seed is planted there is not much you can do. what Montgomery needs to do is step and clear up all players involved or shut up and go with damage done. so far he picked to shut up. not good


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