When the NFL draft arrives in April Defensive End’s Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery will more than likely be taken on the first night in the 1st round of the draft. As a matter of fact they might each be taken within the first 5 picks. As of yesterday Mel Kiper listed Mingo & Montgormery #3 and #4 on his big board. So immediately, one not only ponders ‘Is this the best DE combo in the country?’ or might ask ‘Is this one of the best DE combos we’ve seen ever seen?’ Without much argument this combo is probably the best in the country right now, however are they the best ever? That question is probably too hard to quantify but in terms of ‘NFL potential’ this combo definitely ranks high.
First you have Barkevious Mingo who is a relentless 6’5 240 pound specimen that has been rumored to be clocked anywhere from 4.4-4.6 in the 40 yard dash, which is incredibly fast not only for his position but also for his size. Last year when Mingo was a Redshirt Freshmen and not even listed as the starter on the depth chart he racked up 45 tackles, 15 for loss, 8 sacks, and 11 QB Hurries. This performance was good enough for Mingo to garner 2nd team All-Conference SEC in a conference that is blistered with talent on the Defensive Line. Mingo’s strength is certainly the pass-rushing presence he brings to a defense especially utilized in 3rd and long situations. The knock on Mingo is his ability to defend against the run. He projects as a solid DE in the NFL that could be well utilized in a 4-3 scheme, however his slight frame in comparison to other DE’s leads to questions from NFL personnel.
Next is Sam Montgomery whom is just slightly bigger than Mingo at 6’5 260 pounds. Unlike Mingo, Montgomery was a huge recruiting coup for LSU coming in as the #2 ranked DE in the 2009 class. Montgomery also enters his redshirt Junior season after a very successful Sophomore campaign. Last season Montgomery received All-American honors while tallying 49 tackles, 13.5 for loss, and 9 sacks. While Montgomery’s pass-rushing prowess isn’t that of his teammate Mingo’s, Montgomery does possess excellent run defense skills and his aided by the added bulk he has put on his frame. Montgomery also plays with a non-stop motor in combination with his satisfactory play recognition skills.
Going forward it will be interesting to evaluate these players especially in games against Alabama and Texas A&M. Both Alabama & A&M have top 5 ranked offensive lines in our preseason unit evaluations. A&M presents challenges to the duo in correlation with their pass rushing abilities as A&M possesses 2 NFL ready tackles in Jake Matthews and Luke Joeckel. A&M only allowed 9 sacks in 537 pass attempts last year. Alabama while satisfactory in pass protection will present a more physical challenge in regards to defending the run. Unlike A&M, Alabama runs a pro-style offense that is perpetuated on their ability to establish the run. Alabama Tackles Cyrus Koandjio (6’6 311, SO.) & DJ Fluker (6’6 335, JR.) while not as experienced as Matthews and Joeckel present different challenges with their size and athleticism. These two matchups will be key in making a more concrete evaluation of both Montgomery and Mingo.
Here’s a little highlight of the LSU defense…