Literally everyone on the Browns defense could do with having a breakout season, but perhaps none more than Barkevious Mingo.
Apart from Paul Kruger, the Browns lack a real pass rush, which was the exact reason that Mingo was drafted high in the first round in 2013. However, he has really struggled to reach the heights that were projected and expected of him when the Browns brought him in. He has just 7 sacks in 46 career games and that is not even close to being good enough for a 6th overall pick. So entering a contract year, Mingo has to step it up.
However, the biggest question on everyone’s lips is likely: Well is he even capable of breaking out? I think so. There is a reason he was the 6th overall pick, and that’s because he was a very effective pass rusher in the SEC and he showed that he has certain skills that make him a very attractive pass rusher.
He is very athletic and that is on show when he plays. He moves well and he can get a great jump off the edge. He can also counter that speed with a very effective spin move which he uses to sometimes breeze past offensive tackles, as you can see here:
Perhaps his biggest issue, though, is his size and strength. That has always been a knock on him. Over the last few seasons he has been playing at roughly 230lbs – he was 227lbs when he checked out of the Browns facility at the end of the season – and that is simply not big enough for a pass rushing outside linebacker. It means that he gets overpowered easily and his speed can be overmatched with a good punch from an offensive lineman. Furthermore, he can’t generate the power to move a 280+lbs offensive lineman when speed isn’t working. He has to bulk up to break out, and all reports suggests he has.
Though no figure has been given to his current weight, he looks significantly chunkier, he reportedly eats about 6000 calories a day and lived with a former female body builder for 5 weeks. And it has reportedly paid off as rumour has it he has added 20 pounds of muscle.
If that is true, that is a significant change and it is certainly the change he needs to have a desperately needed breakout year.