Howie Roseman had his pre-draft talk with the media not long ago. He made an interesting comment:
Roseman also said that the pass-rushing talent in this draft is at the very top, that “pass-rushers are going to go quickly.”
This logic hasn’t been lost on me as I’ve thought over and over about what to do at #4. There is depth in a lot of areas. That’s not true with pass rushers. It is one of the reasons that LB Dion Jordan is my top target for the Eagles. That’s also tied to the fact that the Eagles have so much uncertainty at OLB. The top 3 guys right now are Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, and Trent Cole. The trio combined for just 11 sacks last year. And only Barwin has 3-4 experience. These guys have to learn, adjust, and improve.
I think the Eagles should focus on getting Dion Jordan. But what happens if the Jaguars take him at #2? What then?
I go over this scenario over and over. Who do you take? Clearly you want to take the player with the highest grade. But what if several players have the same grade or they are so close that you have your choice of positions. What do you do then?
Since we don’t know the Eagles draft grades it is okay for us to focus our discussion on positions. When you have limited info, you do what you can. So setting grades aside for a minute…what position would be best to get at #4? Go back to Howie’s comments. Go get the pass rusher.
The discussion I’ve been having with myself is whether getting a pass rusher means strictly an OLB or if that could also be a 5-tech DE. Since this draft looks to be deep with the DEs, I’m focusing on OLBs. After Jordan, Barkevious Mingo is the next guy. Is he worth pick #4? That would all depend on the grade the Eagles have on him. I expect him to be a Top 10 or so pick. He won’t last long. I think the Jags could grab him at #2. The Browns have expressed some interest. The Jets are said to covet him. I’m sure the Saints at #15 would love to move up and get him if they had the ammo.
Let’s talk about Mingo.
33 3/4 arms
9 5/8 hands
37 – VJ
10’8 – BJ
6.84 – 3-cone
4.39 – SS
no bench – choice
The argument against Mingo is that he only had 4.5 sacks last year. How can such a dynamic athlete have so little production? There are a couple of reasons. First, LSU did a lot of mush-rushing last year. That is when DEs don’t fly upfield. They rush under control, with the goal of boxing the QB in the pocket. The reason you do that is to make mobile guys become pocket passers. That strategy worked great vs Texas A&M and Johnny Football had his worst game of the year.
The other reason for a lack of production is that Mingo wasn’t a great finisher in 2012. He did have a chance to make more plays and just didn’t get the job done. That is a legitimate concern. Was that a fluke? Can that be fixed? Mingo had 15 TFLs (including 8 sacks) back in 2011 so those were good numbers. He was only credited as starting 3 games, but clearly played a lot of snaps.
I am really torn as to what to think of Mingo. One big selling point for me is that LSU mis-used him. Mingo isn’t meant to be just a 4-3 DE. He is a dynamic player. He can be a weapon. Watch the bowl game vs Clemson.
Mingo got to shoot inside gaps and was very disruptive. They used 3-man lines a few times and gave Mingo more room to work with. That was effective. They stood him up a time or two and Mingo is at his best when upright. He has the best spin move of anyone in the draft. He can go cover the RB in the flat and take that option away. He can mirror the QB and try to bat down the pass. I would love to have seen him play in a 3-4 scheme in college. He might have played his best game of 2012 vs Clemson. Mingo had 4 TFLs, a FF, and was disruptive.
I think Mingo can be a very good OLB in the NFL. He is explosive. His VJ and BJ numbers show you that. Then re-watch the game. You see him explode up the field. Look at his 3-cone time. 6.84 for a guy that is 6-4, 241 is incredible. That shows great quickness and agility. Watch his spin moves. Watch his lateral agility in games. Mingo can fly upfield or sideways. He had good long speed, but not great. He’s special in his ability to explode from Point A to Point B in an instant.
Mingo can cover. He can rush the passer. I think he’s underrated as a run defender. Mingo needs to add some bulk and he must get stronger, but he’s not a finesse player. He will fire into blockers and fight to hold his ground or to push them backward. He uses his hands well and isn’t strictly a “run-around” guy. Some speed rushers are allergic to contact. Not Mingo.
Size-wise, he’s fine. Chip Kelly would prefer 6-6, but 6-4 with solid arm length is good enough. Mingo can bulk up to 250 pretty naturally and should carry that well. I don’t think you want him getting up to 260, but the sports science guy can figure out if Mingo should weigh 257.4 pounds or 249.3 and they could adjust his smoothie intake accordingly.
We do know that Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly both were at LSU’s Pro Day. There were a lot of prospects to look at that the Eagles could like:
DE Lavar Edwards
S Eric Reid
RB Spencer Ware
RB Michael Ford
CB Tharold Simon
OL P.J. Lonergan
WR Russell Sheppard
LB Sam Montgomery
DL Bennie Logan
That is a lot of talent. But Mingo will be the highest pick and you have to think that Roseman and Kelly have some interest. I don’t know if they’ll love him, like him, or just be curious. Mingo is an odd player.
Remember that Howie talked about what a player can become. If you develop Mingo’s body and coach him up, he could develop into a very good NFL player. Could be be a defensive cornerstone? I do think it is possible. He has the potential to become a dynamic pass rusher because of his explosion and agility. You can work on strength. Explosion and agility are rare traits. Anyone can lift weights.
If the Eagles miss on Jordan and pass on Mingo, the LBs to target are not a compelling bunch. I’ll put up a separate post on them over the weekend. The drop-off is very real.
By comparison, pass on Ansah and you could go get a DE in every round. Magus Hunt 2nd. William Gholston 3rd/4th. Joe Kruger 4th/5th. And so on. There are a bunch of interesting guys even beyond them. This is focusing on true DEs. If you mix in the Jonathan Hankins, John Jenkins, and Quinton Dials of the world, the number goes up even more.
There are a slew of good OTs. You can find one in the 2nd, 3rd, and possibly even 4th round.
Lots of Safeties and CBs.
Pass rushing LBs are the thin group. If that is a priority position, go for it early.
One other key thing to keep in mind is that if the Eagles do like Mingo, they should have a feel for his value. They might know that they could slide back to pick 6, 7, or 8 and still get him. Or they might know that Mingo is a player teams quietly do want and they need to take him at #4.
Who knows. Maybe the Jags will snatch him up at #2 and Jordan will be there for the Eagles. This is going to be an interesting draft.
Please remember what I wrote earlier…this is all predicated on the Eagles having a high grade on him. If they have Mingo with a mid-1st grade, then I’ve just wasted 1300 words speculating on something that won’t happen. The Eagles aren’t going to reach. They will have talented players to pick from and will find one that can really help the team.
* * * * *
Compare Mingo’s info to Ansah and Jordan
33 7/8 arms
32 1/2 – VJ
10’2 – BJ
7.02 – 3-cone
4.35 – SS
no bench (shoulder surgery)
35 1/8 arms
10 1/4 hands
34.5 – VJ
9’10 – BJ
7.11 – 3-cone
4.26 – SS