During Ray Horton’s first stint as the defensive coordinator in Cleveland, he helped break linebacker Barkevious Mingo into the lineup after the Browns made Mingo the sixth pick in the 2013 draft.
Mingo had five sacks that season, but added just two over the next two seasons while playing a role less focused on rushing the passer for former coach Mike Pettine and defensive coordinator Jim O’Neill. The Browns reportedly dangled him in trade talks before last year’s deadline, but Horton said Thursday that Mingo’s very much in the team’s plans for next season.
Horton said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, those plans will be “different than in past. Got to use his God-given ability.” He didn’t specify exactly how the usage would be different, but he also said that the team “to give [linebacker Paul Kruger] help on the other side” as a pass rusher.
That desire and Mingo’s relative pass rushing success under Horton in the past would seem to give some idea about how the Browns want to use Mingo, who will need a strong season to turn around a career that’s fit right in with the recent trend of underperforming first-rounders in Cleveland.