By brandon Judeh
Three years ago, Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden heard his name called as the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft.
Two nights ago, Haden watched his new teammate and soon-to-be defensive counterpart Barkevious Mingo, out of LSU, drafted sixth overall by the Browns.
“I know what Mingo has to be feeling right now,” Haden said. “When you are drafted, it’s a dream come true. With that dream, though, comes a lot of pressure and expectations, especially when you’re a top-10 pick.”
The 6-foot-4, 241-pound defensive end-outside linebacker is coming off a somewhat disappointing season. He had just 4.5 sacks after notching eight the previous season for the Tigers.
Despite the numbers, Mingo should excel in the Browns’ 3-4 defensive scheme alongside Jabaal Sheard and the newly acquired Paul Kruger.
“I am so excited to have Mingo on board — it’s like a dream come true,” Haden said. “He is going to put a lot of pressure on the opposing quarterback and make my job a whole lot easier.”
Haden is starting to develop into the shutdown corner the Browns have desperately been searching for since their return to Cleveland in 1999.
The 24-year-old Florida alum recorded three interceptions in just 11 games last season and has nine for his career.
Now that he is going into his fourth NFL season, Haden has set his goals high for himself and his team in 2013.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be on the plus side in the win column at the end of the season,” he said. “We have a lot of talent. As for myself, I need to step up and solidify myself as a shutdown corner and become a Pro Bowler.”
Also excited about his new teammate is second-year wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Gordon says rookies often feel a lot of pressure coming into their first season, but he feels his experience can help Mingo and the other Browns’ draftees.
“Any guy drafted in the first round, or early on in the draft, shouldn’t worry about feeling any lack of confidence or ability,” Gordon said. “Playing in a city like Cleveland is great because you definitely have the support of the fans, Cleveland has everything a player needs to be motivated and succeed. It’s definitely a football town.”
The Browns forfeited their 2013 second-round draft selection in last year’s supplemental draft in order to get the former Baylor receiver.
The Browns did make some waves in the second day of the draft, drafting a cornerback in San Diego State’s Leon McFadden and making a trade for Miami Dolphins receiver Davone Bess.
McFadden finished his college career with eight interceptions and is known for his quick feet and good speed.
Miami decided to part ways with Bess after signing former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Mike Wallace. Bess finished the 2012 season with 778 yards receiving and a 12.8 yards-per catch ration in just 13 games.
Gordon and Haden appeared at area O’Donold’s this week. Gordon was at the Austintown location Thursday night. Haden was at the downtown location Friday night.