Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski and CEO Joe Banner met with the local media in Berea Thursday night, following the selection of OLB Barkevious Mingo at No. 6 overall. They discussed the reason behind taking Mingo, how he fits in, and other scenarios they considered. The transcript of the news conference is organized by topic below, or you can watch the conference here.
Opening Statements by Chudzinski & Banner
Rob Chudzinski: (Opening statement)- "We just want to come out and get a chance to announce, obviously, that we have drafted (Barkevious) Kiki Mingo. We’re extremely excited about Kiki. The thing that stood out to us was the kind of person that he is. He has outstanding character, extremely highly recommended from the people down there that you talked to. We had a chance, he came in for a visit, and spent the day with him. He’s anHe’sh extremely impressive young man - somebody that we felt like we strongly wanted be able to put in our locker room and become part of the team. His athleticism speaks for itself. He’s an extremely gifted athlete, explosive, great speed off the edge and a developing player. Obviously, he’s been battle tested in the SEC. He has played a lot. He still has plenty of room for growth. But, we really see him as an outstanding pass rusher and somebody that is going to be able to bring that to our team."
Joe Banner: (Opening statement)- "Just adding to what Chud is saying, we’ve been talking about the same themes. He is very high character, very hard working, extraordinarily competitive naturally, this guy. We’ve talked about bringing in aggressive players to play an aggressive scheme. He fits that very well. This was the outcome we were hoping for. We’re very excited. I think you all spoke with him, I think you can tell what type of person he is. You’ll get to meet him, so we feel very good about this."
Considerations About Moving Down
Joe Banner: (On if they considered moving up or down in the draft)- "We have been, as we said, talking to people over the last week, it narrowed to a small number the last few days. We did have some opportunities. We just felt too strong about the fit of character and his strengths and how it fit into both the scheme and the personality we’re trying to develop. So we went ahead and made the pick."
Joe Banner: (On if he had a trade in place if Mingo wasn’t available and how far they would have dropped down)- "Yes, we did and I don’t want to get into the specifics of it."
Sheard & Mingo Fitting in the Current 3-4 Scheme
Rob Chudzinski: (On
Jabaal Sheard’s future and where he fits in)- "I have been really impressed with him during the minicamp and his ability and how quickly he has demonstrated that he can make the adjustment to a 3-4. Adding Kiki in the mix gives us another pass rusher in a solid rotation. In that group, we plan on rotating, anyhow, between Paul (Kruger), Jabaal and Kiki and also with Quentin (Groves). You can’t have enough pass rushers and keeping those guys fresh is a key."
Rob Chudzinski: (On where Mingo will fit in the defensive scheme)- "In our base package, he would play outside backer and then in our sub, he would be a defensive end."
Rob Chudzinski: (On the difficulty of a defensive end becoming a linebacker)- "It’s an adjustment. While they’re in, our coaches spend a lot of time with them and go through schemes and install some base things that we would do and then quiz them up and get a feel for how they learn. That’s one of the things we did when Kiki was in and he was able to really relate the concepts well, understand them and be able to talk to our coaches about them. That’s from a mental standpoint, there’s the adjustment. Then from a physical standpoint, standing up, which Kiki has done some of, that’s one of the things and then dropping. Just from a physical standpoint, seeing him move around in some of the workouts in the offseason and our guys working him out, specifically and looking at that we felt very comfortable that he would be able to do that with his skill set."
Rob Chudzinski: (On what Mingo has to do in pass coverage)- "There’s a few snaps of him dropping, but for the most part he did not. He’ll have to work on that, like I said before from a physical standpoint it’s just a matter of getting out and working. Brian Baker will do a great job with him working on the drops and understanding the spots he needs to get to and how to match up with receivers and those things. Then just the mental side of it and knowing and understanding coverage, something that he’s done some of but not a lot of before."
Discussing All the New Additions at Outside Linebacker
Joe Banner: (On bringing in bringing in defenders like Kruger, Groves and now Barkevious)- "It really started with our coaching search, and Chud’s philosophy which was part of the reason he got the job frankly by playing aggressive attacking defense, making life uncomfortable for quarterbacks. Being on the attack even when the other team has the ball and I think you can see it in the moves we’ve made that our philosophies are consistent whether it was the free agent moves, what you’ve seen so far in the draft. It fit the plan from the coach to the coordinator through to the players we’re adding."
Rob Chudzinski: (On if he knew he had to find someone to play opposite of
Paul Kruger)- "Like Joe was talking about, it has been a priority for us. We want a strong front and guys that can run, hit, who are relentless. Affecting the quarterback in this league is a key to winning games and a key to playing great defense. So as we went through the process looking at guys who could do that, obviously, we found some guys in free agency that could do that and fit that bill. Going forward in the draft, we felt the same way about Kiki. It happened that he was available there and we’re happy to have him."
Rob Chudzinski: (On how active Ray Horton was in drafting of Mingo)- "He was very involved, between Ray, Brian Baker and Joe Cullen. They all had chances to either workout Kiki or spend time with him. All of them did evaluations on him. You’re asking about Ray, and he was particularly involved in that."
Other Notes on Mingo
Rob Chudzinski: (On Mingo’s character traits and if he said or did anything specific)- "Nothing specifically. The whole day, you get a sense and you get a feel for people. Just sitting down and talking with him, he’s the type of guy that you enjoy the conversation with and spending time with. Everybody that met him and had the opportunity to spend time with him felt the same way. He was a unanimous type person in terms of the recommendations from different people that met him around the building."
Rob Chudzinski: (On why Mingo’s sack totals were down last year)- "One of the things you look at is not just sack totals, but disrupting, affecting and putting pressure on the quarterback. As you watch games and you study him, he had a lot of snaps where he did that, and it wasn’t necessarily equating to sacks but the pressures on the quarterback, the batted balls, just making quarterbacks step up, slide and have to throw on the move. He had a number of those and if you look over the course of his career, I think as a sophomore he had eight sacks alone in three games. Obviously, people start knowing and try to adjust to guys in college that have that kind of production, so he was getting chipped and he was having people slide to him and those types of things, but even so you see a lot of times that he affected the quarterback."
Still Needing to Address the Need at Cornerback
Joe Banner: (On picking Mingo rather than Dee Milliner or another corner back)- "Chud could speak to this better, but we just feel like building this the way we are with character, aggressiveness and quickness that this was the right guy at this time as we looked at our board and the grades we had."
Joe Banner: (On if he is confident that they can get some corner backs)- "As we’ve said all along, we’re really not going to force filling a need on a short-term basis as opposed to building the team we want to have to get really good and sustain it. We’ll certainly, at corner as well as at other positions, be looking for somebody we feel can fill the spot and do so for a while and do it at championship level. If that situation presents itself that would be great but if not we’re not going to force it. We’re not going to fill all the needs of the team this year, it’s just not going to happen, I’ll tell you right now. If there’s a guy there we think can be a long-term solution and quality player, we’ll pick him. If it’s just somebody that upgrades us for this year and then we’ll need to replace again, we won’t."
Rob Chudzinski: (On if a pass rusher helps the back end of the defense as well)- "Absolutely, it all starts with pass rush in this league. Like I mentioned before, you have to be able to get after the passer and affect him in that way. There are too many good quarterbacks and if they can drop back, they can still beat good corners because they still have time to throw and they’re accurate. Trying to affect the quarterback with a pass rush, helps your back end significantly."