Of the five picks taken before Mingo in this year's draft, only one (Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan) isn't listed as a starter on the first depth chart of the preseason. And, looking at the Browns' history, the last five first-round picks have started at least seven games as rookies. In fact, the only Browns first-rounder not to start a game since the team returned to the NFL in 1999 was quarterback Brady Quinn.
Mingo, the No. 6 overall pick, is expected to be used as a situational pass-rusher this season. He's played with the second-team defense as Paul Kruger and Jabaal Sheard have been penciled in as the starting outside linebackers.
But, if the Browns needed to start, Mingo believes he's learned enough in offseason workouts and the first part of training camp to step up to the challenge.
"Definitely I could be able to handle it," Mingo said. "I’ve played in big games. I’ve played against some of the best in college. I know they’re going to be better here, of course, but football is football. At the end of the day, you get paid to make plays."
Asked if he felt any pressure being one of the top picks, Mingo said, "I think it’s more of a self-pressure. You want to go out there and make the same plays that you made in college and more."
Some believe Mingo isn't ready to be an every-down linebacker in the NFL because he's too light to play against bigger, stronger offensive linemen. Mingo acknowledged that he's fascinated by the obsession over his weight. He weighed 237 pounds when the Browns drafted him, but he declined to reveal his weight when he reported to training camp.
"What does weight matter? That was crazy to me," Mingo said. "The coaches are content with where I’m at. The strength coaches are content with where I’m at. They’re not making it an issue."