The Indianapolis Colts have made a lot of moves so far in free agency, and the area they’ve focused on the most is the outside linebacker spot.
They’ve signed Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, and Barkevious Mingo at the position so far, and they’re doing what they can to try to upgrade on one of the team’s biggest weaknesses from a year ago.
Though we’ve been talking about a lot of these free agents ever since the Colts signed them, it’s always good to be able to get a better idea of who the Colts’ new players are. So we’re taking a look at these free agents through the eyes of those who have been watching them play and following them.
We’re asking the writers of the SB Nation site that covered the player’s previous team to give us some information about each player, and Pats Pulpit’s Rich Hill was kind enough to answer questions not only about Jabaal Sheard (you can find that Q&A here), but also about Barkevious Mingo.
Mingo was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, but after his first three seasons with the team he was traded to the New England Patriots for the 2016 season. He has played in 62 career games and has seven career sacks.
Here’s what Rich Hill had to say about Mingo (our questions are in bold and Rich’s answers follow):
1. How was the player during his tenure with the Patriots?
The Patriots acquired him before the start of the 2016 season as potential insurance if Jamie Collins was moved away from the team. Mingo starred in the preseason and there was some hope, but then he vanished during the regular season and never saw the defensive side of the field. He was at the bottom of the Patriots linebacker depth chart, behind a 6th round rookie in Elandon Roberts. He didn't live up to the expectations on defense, although he ranked second on the team in special teams tackles.
2. Why was he not re-signed?
Mingo was going to receive a bigger contract than the Patriots were willing to pay based on his athletic potential. He had a year in the system and didn't pull it together, so the Patriots weren't willing to overpay. They also have a player coming back from the injured reserve in Jonathan Freeny, who was a better special teams and defensive player than Mingo already under contract. There just wasn't space for Mingo.
3. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
He's an athletic freak that will do whatever the coaches ask of him. He just wants to contribute and play. He runs at a different speed from any other player in the defensive front seven, but fails to convert that into production. He must not have done enough during practice to earn time on defense in the game. He was traded by the Browns for not achieving his potential, and the Patriots let him walk for the same reason.
4. Do you think this is a good fit and a good signing for the Colts?
Mingo was a blast to watch in the low-stakes preseason against third stringers. He did nothing in the regular season or postseason. If you're able to approach this signing as adding a special teams linebacker with upside, then any contributions on defense has to be considered a bonus- and you'll be far happier with the outcome. He has the upside to make it worth it.
Rich’s summary of Mingo seems right in line with what the Colts signed the outside linebacker to be: a special teams player who will get the chance to show whether he can contribute or not, which is a flier worth taking for Indy.
Thanks again to Rich Hill for taking the time to answer our questions, and be sure to check out Pats Pulpit for all things Patriots.