Browns' Mingo responds to weighty issue

The Cleveland Browns can only hope top draft pick Barkevious Mingo handles NFL offensive tackles as well as he did the questions following his first practice with the team Friday.

Learning the extent of Cleveland's obsession about his lean frame, Mingo said all the right things, sounding more like a veteran than someone who is attending rookie minicamp. By The Plain Dealer's count, nearly a quarter of the questions Mingo answered touched upon weight and diet. It didn't sound like Mingo bristled at any of them. In fact, Mingo laughed when asked if he was skinny.

“Naw, I think I’m just fine the way I am,” he told Cleveland reporters.

Mingo is listed at 6-feet-4, 240 pounds. No, he isn't Ezekiel Ansah, the 6-5, 271-pound defensive end who was taken one spot earlier in last month's draft. But he's basically the same weight as Dion Jordan, the 6-6, 248-pound pass rusher who was selected No. 3 overall.

The real issue is Mingo's upper-body strength. He's going to need that to hold up against the run and get off blocks. Some believe it'll take a couple of years in the weight room for Mingo to develop that and reach his potential. Mingo is known as a blue-collar player and hard worker, but one of the knocks against him is he doesn't consistently play with strength.

Still, when asked if too much was made of his slender frame, Mingo said: "You hit, you catch, you tackle. It’s football.”

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said the ideal weight for Mingo has yet to be determined. He doesn't think he'll need to add 15 to 20 pounds, which had been suggested by one media member.

"Different guys have different body types and different weights that they play the best at," Chudzinski said. "You look at guys from Jason Taylor (who played at 6-6, 244 pounds) all the way to some of the bigger guys. Really, it’s a matter of getting them in here, spending some time with (strength) coach (Brad) Roll and bringing them up to speed. All those things will work themselves out.”

The numbers that Mingo will ultimately be judged by are sacks, not pounds. And, when determining Mingo's weight, the Browns don't want to compromise his biggest asset -- his speed.

“Whatever they ask me to do I’ll do,” Mingo said. “As far as how much, I think I can hold a pretty good bit and still be effective.”