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The future is now
May 8, 2013 - Mike McLain
Browns coach Rob Chudzinski will get his first look at the newest team members when he conducts a rookie orientation camp Friday and Saturday.
Under the microscope the most will be first-round draft choice Barkevious Mingo of LSU. Mingo, the sixth overall choice, is a lean defender that played end in college. He'll line up at outside linebacker in Chudzinski's 3-4 base defense but will work as a down lineman on passing downs in a four-man front.
Chudzinski will spend considerable time evaluating players that don't have a chance to make the 53-man roster in late August. Because of trades for future picks and a second-round choice that was forfeited in the supplemental draft last June, the Browns selected just five players in the draft -- Mingo, defensive back Leon McFadden, defensive back Jamoris Slaughter, defensive end Armonty Bryant and offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey.
There will be a local flavor at the camp. Youngstown State University running back Jamaine Cook has been invited. He hopes to obviously impress coaches enough to be invited back for training camp in late July.
The odds are stacked against rookie free agents making it to training camp, let alone earning a spot on the final roster. The most celebrated rookie free agent to stick with the Browns in recent times was Joshua Cribbs, who made the jump from Kent State in 2005.
The Browns are set at running back with second-year veteran Trent Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. Montario Hardesty returns as Richardson's backup, which adds to the challenge facing any rookie back.
It will be fun watching Mingo, even in an orientation setting. He's been advertised as a speed pass rusher with a great first step off the line of scrimmage. We'll have to see if he has more than one pass rush move or if he'll be an easy read for tackles, tight ends and blocking backs.
Many fans undoubtedly have concerns about Mingo's lack of impressive sack numbers at LSU, but we've been told that the scheme didn't allow him to pin his ears back and go after quarterbacks.
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