Agility to sink his hips/shoulder to get leverage on tackles
Excellent pursuit skills
Pressures pocket in an instant
Can command double teams
Weak run defense
Struggles to shed blocks
Needs more pass-rushing moves
Lacks strength for NFL
Outside linebacker only
Summary: There is no doubt that athletically Mingo is one of the top prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft. He is lightning fast while being very agile. He is blessed with rare speed that allows him to run sideline-to-sideline in an instant. Mingo is typically the fastest player on the field with the speed to defend skill position players on offense.
As a freshman in 2010, Mingo saw the field and totaled 35 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and six pass breakups. He made a lot of improvements as a sophomore with 46 tackles with 15 tackles for a loss, eight sacks and one forced fumble. Mingo was the best pass-rusher for a Tiger defense that carried LSU to the SEC Championship.
In his junior season, Mingo was disappointing overall. He recorded his first sack of the year against Towson. He came close to a number of sacks against Auburn and Washington, but put regular pressure on the quarterback. Mingo was held in check by Texas A&M's Jake Matthews, the best tackle he battled this season. Against Florida, he had a splash play with a forced fumble, but was creamed in the ground game throughout the second half by the Gators.
Alabama's right tackle, D.J. Fluker, struggled all year in pass protection, but Mingo was a non-factor against Fluker aside from two plays. Mingo drew a holding penalty and batted down a third-down pass attempt, but overall Fluker kept him from making an impact against the Crimson Tide.
Mingo's best game of the season came in the finale against Clemson. He was a disruptive presence and dominated the right tackle. Mingo produced some sacks and other tackles for a loss before having to leave the game in the fourth quarter with an abdominal issue. He registered 38 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two passes batted and 4.5 sacks in 2012. Mingo put more pressure on the quarterback than his sack total indicates, but he fell far short of expectations.
There is no doubt that Mingo has to play outside linebacker in the NFL regardless of it being in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense. He isn't strong enough to hold his ground against offensive linemen, and as a result there is no way he can hold up with his hand in the ground.
Last season, Mingo's run defense was a liability. Teams had success running straight at him. Offensive tackles pushed him off the ball and moved him out of his gap. They could ride him out of plays and keep him from having any impact. College offensive linemen who aren't NFL prospects were able to push Mingo around. It was ugly. Mingo disclosed that he played the 2012 season in the 230s, so he was poorly misfit as a defensive end. Still, Mingo's run defense at the point of attack needs to improve massively in the NFL.
Mingo is an extremely explosive pass-rusher off the edge. He gets upfield quickly with the ability to sink his hips to be able to turn the corner to get pointed to the quarterback. Mingo needs to improve his pass-rushing moves to the inside and could use more work on a spin move. He is too reliant on a pure speed rush around the corner. In the NFL, he won't be able to beat tackles by racing them around the corner on every down.
There is a ton of upside to Mingo athletically. Even though he doesn't have the production or good tape of most first-round picks, he is expected to go in the top 32 because of his amazing speed and athleticism. He would fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker rushing off the edge. If he is drafted into a 4-3, he'll have to play outside linebacker like the Broncos' Von Miller.
Player Comparison: Bruce Irvin. There are a lot of similarities to Irvin and Mingo. Both are lightning-fast pass-rushers off the edge who struggle in run support. Like Irvin, Mingo may be a situational pass-rusher to start his career. Both Irvin and Mingo played defensive end in college but aren't big enough to be every-down ends in the NFL. They can only play end in passing situations. Irvin was a surprise first-round pick last April, while Mingo looks likely to go in the top 32.
NFL Matches: Cleveland, New York Jets, New Orleans, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, New York Giants
There are six teams in the top 20 that could consider drafting Mingo. The first possible destination for him could be in Cleveland. The Browns are switching to a 3-4 and need another pass-rusher on the other side from Jabaal Sheard.
The Jets have been lacking an edge rusher for years, and Mingo would be a quick upgrade for New York.
New Orleans also has to improve its pass rush badly. The Saints are transitioning to a 3-4 defense, and Mingo would fit the in state team pretty well.
St. Louis has to land an upgrade at outside linebacker. In the Rams 4-3 defense, Mingo would have to play a role like Von Miller. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, needs to find a young edge rusher. James Harrison is nearing the end of the line, and Mingo would be a good understudy.
Giants' general manager Jerry Reese likes players with elite speed and athleticism. Reese also wants to improve his linebackers. Mingo could fit the bill for New York.