Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo (51) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) in the third quarter at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Browns win 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Barkevious Mingo living up to expectations with Cleveland Browns?

Barkevious Mingo started his rookie season out of LSU with the Cleveland Browns with a bang, but has since struggled suggesting he’s hit the rookie wall. Mingo had three sacks in his first three games for the Browns as the No. 6 pick in the 2013 NFL draft was living up to his lofty potential and expectations.

However, in Mingo’s 11 games he has only two sacks, including just one sack in the past seven games, so while I think he’s hit the rookie wall, I don’t think he’s been a disappointment.

Mingo was drafted for his ability to get to the quarterback and he’s shown the ability to do that, granted the statistics won’t reflect his true impact on the game as he’s drawn a number of penalties and disrupted or altered a number of plays with his speed off the edge.

Sure, he does have flaws as most rookies do in regard to consistency and he struggles setting the edge in the run game, but that’s not why he was drafted. He was drafted to inject life into a weak Cleveland pass rush and when he’s been on the field, the Browns have been able to get to the quarterback.

In the second half of the season, however, he has seen his snaps reduced down from the heavy workload he saw in the first half of the season. This was an effort to curtail the inevitable rookie wall, which was unsuccessful, and as a result when he’s off the field, Cleveland doesn’t get a pass rush.

The Browns have 20.5 sacks in their past nine games, compared to 18.5 in the first six when Mingo was terrorizing offensive tackles with his lightning-quick first step. He made a big play today with an 11-yard tackle for loss on a New York Jets end around by Saalim Hakim and will continue to get better.

His five sacks on the year is a solid total for a player who would be preparing for a bowl game in his senior year at LSU had he not declared early and with an offseason to get bigger and stronger to withstand the rigors of an NFL schedule a 10-sack season in 2014 is within reach.

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