With all due respect to the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears and others, Cleveland Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo believes the Cleveland Browns could have the best defensive unit in the league this season.
According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mingo believes the Browns have the pieces in place to be among the league’s best.
“If everything is going well, I think this defense could be the best in the league,” Mingo said.
“We have a lot of players that can contribute and help this team win. We’ve got a lot of rushers. We’ve got corners on the back-end. We’ve got D-linemen that can hold those blocks and get off and make plays. We’ve got linebackers that can come up and tackle the run and get back in coverage as well. So we have a lot of tools that we can use.”
It would be a pretty significant climb from where the Browns finished in 2012. Cleveland was ranked 23rd in the league last season in total defense and 19th in points allowed.
The Browns do have some strong pieces on the defensive side of the ball and the potential to be especially strong in the front seven. Joe Haden has Pro Bowl potential at corner and the addition of defensive coordinator Ray Horton could help solidify the group as a whole.
Still, it seems a little premature for anyone, let alone a rookie, to claim the Browns belong in that conversation. The potential could be there, but they’ll have to prove they belong to be considered one of the league’s best defenses this fall.