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Sam’s Film Room: How Barkevious Mingo fits in the Seattle Seahawks’ defense

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of LSU in the 2013 NFL Draft, Barkevious Mingo was seen as the next DeMarcus Ware-type of pass rusher. He had size standing at 6’5”, length with 33-3/4 inch arms, and he had a quick first step that helped him run a 4.58 second 40-yard dash. However, he was a raw prospect and was seen by many as a boom-or-bust prospect.

Since he entered the NFL, Mingo is now joining his fourth team after getting drafted 6th overall. He played with the Cleveland Browns from 2013 to 2015, the New England Patriots in 2016, the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, and now he recently signed a two-year contract worth up to $10.1 million with the Seattle Seahawks. For this breakdown, I wanted to look closer at Mingo’s skill-set and see what he brings to the Seahawks.

Starting with his pass rush, he has a quick first step and he definitely has enough length to be an edge defender. His frame is lean and tall and while he’s fast in a straight-line, his hips are not loose enough to consistently bend around the edge. With a body and skill-set like Mingo’s I was really expecting him to be a good speed rusher or at the very least flash the ability to convert his quickness into power.

Good pass rushers like Khalil Mack understand how to off-balance a blocker by first rushing hard up the field. Unfortunately, he takes too many steps to set up his pass rush and this negates his power.

Here’s another example where he does the same thing. By the time he actually made contact with the left tackle, he was already seven or eight yards past the line of scrimmage. This is way too far and it allows the quarterback to step up in the pocket and run right by him.

Taking too many steps is a consistent issue in every single one of his rushes. It honestly seems like he doesn’t plan his moves and this puts him in a bad position to win on almost every single snap. I charted three games and skimmed two more and he rarely won in a one-on-one pass rush situation.

If I was his defensive line coach, these clips would be the first thing I would show him. I would try to have him perfect one move until he can do it on command. The issue right now is that he attempts a variety of moves but he hasn’t mastered a single one.

Now Mingo collected two sacks, four hits, and fifteen hurries last season with the Colts, but a good portion of them were based on scheme design or hustle.

He actually plays with a very high motor and that’s arguably his best trait. I was super impressed with the number of times he would turn and chase a running back down the field. Even when he wasn’t the player that was going to make the tackle, he was still in the area looking to help out a teammate.

In this play above, Mingo is the backside edge defender. After seeing that the offense is running inside zone to the right, he turns and sprints down the field to tackle C.J. Anderson in space. This hustle really helped him make tackles and kept him on the field.

Mingo is actually a pretty strong defender. He can battle tight ends and usually does a good job playing contain. He doesn’t always use his hands to engage or disengage with a blocker, preferring to use his shoulder, but he understands his role as an edge defender. I would like to see him better use his hands and be a bit more aggressive to collapse backside running lanes though.

From my tracking, what really impressed me is his pass coverage skills. He has pretty good instincts and actually did a good job of covering underneath routes. The Colts used him as an inside linebacker as the season progressed and he was pretty solid at forcing a quarterback to move on from his read. I think this will help get him on the field with the Seahawks especially on third down plays.

In this play above, the Texans have a first and 10 in the second quarter. Mingo is the edge defender and he doesn’t get fooled by play-action. Even though he allows the catch, he still shuts it down for a minimal gain.

He does something very similar when the Colts faced the Baltimore Ravens. It’s second and 6 and Joe Flacco looks to dump the ball off to the drag route. Mingo allows the catch but he finishes the tackle only after the receiver gained three yards on the play. Again, he isn’t perfect by any stretch, but his pass coverage ability should allow him to drop into the three-deep four-under zone coverage that the Seahawks like to run.

Overall, while Mingo doesn’t offer a lot in terms of rushing the passer, he’s a good depth rotational linebacker. If he can refine one of his pass rush techniques, he should get more playing time. He was also used on a variety of stunts in the Colts’ defense and his hustle should put him on the field to play special teams as well.

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