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Cleveland Browns trade Barkevious Mingo to Patriots

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The Cleveland Browns finally found a taker for 2013 first-round pick Barkevious Mingo: the New England Patriots.

After an offseason of Mingo hype pieces touting his increased strength and mass, the hybrid linebacker and pass rusher is on his way to Foxborough via trade, the Browns announced. Cleveland will receive the Patriots' fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft as compensation.

Mingo will fly to North Carolina on Thursday and join the Patriots there, a source with knowledge of the situation told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

With Mingo in the fold, the Patriots have acquired the No. 6 overall pick (Barkevious Mingo) and the No. 7 overall pick (Jonathan Cooper) from the 2013 NFL Draft.

New England seems like a perfect fit for Mingo. Coach Bill Belichick now has a small army of athletic, versatile linebackers and pass rushers to pepper throughout the defense.

Mingo appeared in at least 15 games in each of his first three NFL seasons, but made just 16 total starts. The No. 6 overall pick logged seven sacks and 68 solo tackles over three seasons.

A trade became increasingly likely after the Browns declined to pick up Mingo's fifth-year option back in April. It became even more likely after the Browns reunited Mingo with his first NFL defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, in 2016. Horton likely knew Mingo's limitations in the scheme and preferred to pivot in another direction with a platoon of young pass rushers coming in via the draft.

It will be interesting to see what, exactly, New England's plans are for Mingo, who has been reluctant to discuss his weight ever since he was drafted. The buzz on him this offseason was that he packed on more muscle than ever, though that didn't seem to clear the way for a starting role in Cleveland's new-look defense. Mingo seems personally invested in salvaging his NFL career and he might have found the perfect place to do it.

While it would be inaccurate to say the Browns are still in a fire sale mode -- this news coming just a day after reports surfaced that the team was fielding calls about a potential Josh Gordon trade -- they are still in the process of figuring out who will contribute on this roster and who will provide the team with coveted draft picks. The Browns are steadfast in their opinion that more cracks at the draft means better chances of unearthing cheap, team-controlled talent in the later rounds. Mingo represents a lottery ticket in that way.

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