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Time to take a look at Sam Montgomery's line mate.
The biggest one is obviously his speed. While Sam Montgomery lacked explosion and acceleration, Mingo has plenty of it. He bursts off the line and can blaze past the tackle. You can see it clearly in obvious passing downs when Mingo has free reign to attack the QB. That's his calling card right now and something that is going to have scouts salivating over his potential.
Mingo is getting some love for excelling at the Combine, but he's more than just a track star. His athleticism shows up on tape. The aforementioned speed, the agility, and a variety of rushing moves are on display frequently. There is a lot of natural talent.
He did fairly well against a strong Alabama line in one of the links above. He never stops moving and really forces the lineman to bring his best every time. He took a wide route to the QB a few times and all the stuff already mentioned was demonstrated yet again. In the Clemson bowl game he was dominant. I don't know how else to describe it other than saying he was destroying their line.
I love his awareness. He's a tall guy that manages to get his hands in passing lanes when he can't get to the quarterback. In run support I found that he knew what to do but sometimes didn't make the play (more on that below).
He's lean and not overly strong. There were times I thought he was easily manipulated by the tackle. I worry about him going up against pro tackles that aren't going to get beat as many times with his speed, forcing him to attempt a more physical style of play. Right now he's a one-trick pony.
Run support was an issue, though I'm definitely not great at evaluating that specific talent. I felt he put himself in position to make a play, but didn't. I was hoping to see him break off the lineman more and wrap up the back a few times but the attempts were weak.
2012: 4.5 sacks, 8.5 TFL, 21 solo tackles
2011: 8.0 sacks, 15.0 TFL, 21 solo tackles
2010: 2.5 sacks, 5.5 TFL, 18 solo tackles
Mingo's an intriguing prospect. His raw talent will guarantee he goes in the first round, but how early is yet to be determined. I think there are two cases to be made here, and so I will try to provide them both.
He could end up being the next Aldon Smith (hat tip S'Horn). Use him as a pass rush specialist early in his career and benefit while he burns slower tackles. He hasn't hit his potential yet and can be groomed into a better all-around defensive end. Specifically to the Titans, he would be able to give us some big plays. Gregg Williams and Jerry Gray could use him in multiple packages, and he doesn't always have to have his hand in the ground. Rotating him in with Morgan and Wimbley gives the coaches a lot of freedom with their play calling.
The counterargument plays to all the risks, and make no mistake, Mingo is definitely one. For the tenth overall pick, you'd like to be more confident in what you're getting. Let's run through some of the questions. Does he even fit as a 4-3 defensive end? His pass rushing skills and smaller frame would seem to make him a better match for 3-4 defenses. Why did his production drop in his last year? Sack totals won't tell the whole story but definitely need to be considered. One of his sacks came against some team named Towson. I doubt they are a football powerhouse. Finally, potential is easily the biggest fake-out in the draft. Just because he could be great doesn't mean he'll fulfill that promise. There's no guarantee coaches will just be able to make him into a polished product.
Your opinion on Mingo is likely going to be determined by what draft strategy you favour. Maybe you want to go for the home run even if it comes with a greater chance of striking out. Personally, I want more of a sure thing. There are more pro-ready candidates out there and I don't think Mingo is worthy of a top ten pick.