NFL draft: Browns grab defensive end

LSU’s Mingo fits new 3-4 scheme, CEO Banner says

By Associated Press  • 
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JASON D eCROW | Associated Press
Barkevious Mingo of LSU, shown with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, was the Browns’ pick.

BEREA, Ohio — Barkevious Mingo walked into Radio City Music Hall for the NFL draft wearing a brown tie and orange pocket square in his suit jacket.

Even before the Cleveland Browns called his name, he looked like a perfect fit.

With their first pick under new owner Jimmy Haslam, the Browns put a little more “Bark” into their defense last night, selecting the speedy LSU defensive end with the No. 6 overall pick. Mingo played defensive end in college but will switch to outside linebacker in Cleveland’s new scheme.

“We’ve talked about bringing in aggressive players in an aggressive scheme, and he fits that very well,” Browns CEO Joe Banner said of Mingo. “This was the outcome we were hoping for. We’re very excited.”

The Browns discussed trades with several teams, and Banner said that if Mingo had not been available, the team would have made a deal.

But the 6-foot-4, 241-pounder was still there when the Browns were on the clock, and they didn’t waste a second snagging him.

“We just felt too strong about the fit, the character, his strengths and how it fit into the scheme and the personality we are trying to develop,” Banner said. “We felt that this was the right guy at this time.”

Mingo had impressed the Browns at the combine with his athleticism, and he further wowed them during a visit to the team’s facility.

“He’s somebody we felt strongly about having in our locker room,” first-year Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “His athleticism speaks for itself. He’s an extremely gifted athlete. He’s explosive and has great speed off the edge. He’s battle-tested in the SEC and has played a lot, and still has plenty of room for growth.

“We see him as an outstanding pass rusher.”

Mingo said it was “a real big coincidence” he wore Cleveland’s colors to the draft in New York. He’s aware his name will be a big hit with fans in Cleveland’s bleacher section, known for years as the “Dawg Pound.”

“It is very fitting,” he said when asked about his unique name. “My mom just made it up. She came up with it. She just wanted it to be different, I guess. She felt Barkevious was different.”& amp; amp; lt; /p>

Mingo recorded 4.5 sacks last season as a junior — down from eight as a sophomore — and was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference.

“We played in an NFL-type game week in and week out,” Mingo said. “A lot guys got their name called early from the SEC. And it shows, there are a lot more guys that are thoroughly making an impact on an NFL team.”

During his visit to Cleveland, Mingo got a sense that he’s joining a franchise with a passionate fan base that can rival any in Louisiana.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s a lifelong dream.”

The Browns are switching from a 4-3 alignment to an aggressive, 3-4 multifront scheme under new coordinator Ray Horton. Mingo will play on the other side from Paul Kruger, who won a Super Bowl with Baltimore and then signed a five-year, $40 million free-agent contract with the Browns in March.

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