COMMENTARY | With so many holes to fill, it's hard to go wrong with the sixth pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Cleveland Browns badly needed a pass rusher, so it's not surprising they chose Barkevious Mingo, a defensive end out of LSU, instead of going in the direction of West Virginia quarterback Gino Smith or Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, as many in Cleveland had speculated.
Browns Get a "B+" for the Draft
Mingo ran the 40 in 4.58 seconds at the combine, which was second best among defensive linemen. His 37 inch vertical leap was a tie for second. That'll come in handy when it's time to knock down passes.
My bet is the Browns will shift Mingo to the linebacker position and hope he's the next DeMarcus Ware (Dallas Cowboys), who is arguably the best defensive back in a 3-4 scheme. If Mingo has a weakness it may be his size. He's listed at 6 foot 5, 240 lbs., but it does appear he's put on some weight since the end of LSU's season.
If the Browns were looking for speed to pressure the quarterback from the outside edge Mingo can deliver, and he'll be able to drop back into coverage when needed as well. He's well suited to the Browns defensive scheme and should work out nicely, especially with the addition of Paul Kruger.
The reason the Mingo pick doesn't get an "A," is the Browns really need a cornerback to compliment Joe Hayden. I would rather have seen the Browns trade down a few spots, take a cornerback, and get a second round pick out of the deal.
The Browns did sign free agent Kevin Barnes to a one year deal but don't expect great things there. He was waived by the Detroit Lions after only two games last season. Other than Hayden, the Browns have Barnes and Buster Skrine, who tied for third most penalties among cornerbacks.
No Second Round
Unfortunately the Browns do not have a second round pick as they gave that up last year for receiver Josh Gordon in the supplemental draft. It's not all bad; Gordon would have been a decent selection this year, and now has a year of experience under his belt and familiarity with Brandon Weeden.
Browns Earn a "B" with CB Leon McFadden Selection
The Browns may not have spent a high draft pick on Milliner because the 2013 draft class was so cornerback rich. With their third round pick the Browns selected cornerback Leon McFadden out of San Diego State. At 5 foot 9 he may not have the size of some receivers he'll face but he has the right set of skills to make up for it. He makes adjustments quickly and has the hand speed needed to effectively break up passes. I give this selection a "B." He's excited about being here and stated he's looking forward to the Dawg Pound. That almost made me give him a "B+."
There's Always Next Year
Cleveland made some moves with the future in mind by trading fourth and fifth round picks to the Miami Dolphins for wide receiver Davone Bess and the 217th overall pick. They also traded a fourth round pick (No. 111 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a third selection next year and the fifth round pick (No. 139) to Indianapolis for a future fourth round pick, most likely next year. Many fans were a bit dismayed by these moves but I give these decisions an "A."
The trade with the Steelers is viewed by some as the Browns helping their division rival but considering the 2013 draft class is believed to be one of the weakest in recent memory this was a good move. I see no reason to spend these draft picks on a player most likely to be designated for special teams, an area the Browns did well in last year. Next year's draft will be good.
The Final Rounds
In the sixth round the Browns finally picked a safety, Jamoris Slaughter out of Notre Dame. Slaughter, thought of as a hard hitter, is recovering from a week three Achilles injury which caused him to miss the final 10 games of the season. He stated today that he's "about 90%" and thinks he'll be ready for training camp. I only give this choice a "C."
Bad Time To Be Arrested
In the final round the Browns pick Armonty Bryant, defensive end out of East Central University. He has decent speed but played in Division II. The most interesting stat here is his arrest record stemming from his trying to sell $40 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop during football practice. Either way I give this guy an "A+" just for making a late round pick more interesting.
The final pick is a 6 foot 7, 323 lb. guard out of Chardon State (Nebraska). He is the only offensive player selected by the Browns in the draft. One downside is that he comes from a small school. I don't expect him to be a starter but you never know. I give it a "C".
Smoke and Mirror Draft Tactics
If you had no idea who the Browns were going to select, you're not alone. Just hours before the draft several sources reported the Browns were going to trade up to secure West Virginia quarterback Gino Smith. Not long after that the same sources contradicted that scoop. Either the strategy was volatile right up to the draft, the scoops were coming from less than credible sources, or some degree of misinformation was being leaked to throw off the competition.
And for the record, Smith wasn't even selected in the first round. That's why I don't do mock drafts, I'll leave that up to Mel Kiper, Jr.
John McCarthy is a Yahoo! Contributor covering the Cleveland Browns and Indians as a Cleveland-based sports journalist and editor.
Follow John on Twitter @i8paintchips
For more from John McCarthy:
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- the Browns
- Barkevious Mingo