Falcons Sign Former 6th Overall NFL Draft Pick: Report

Chicago Bears Barkevious Mingo

Getty Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson #4 is pressured by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo #50.

The Atlanta Falcons have stayed fairly quiet since the start of free agency but they’re finally making some more hot moves, with the most recent being ex-Bears linebacker Barkevious Mingo, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Mingo’s deal is worth $1.25 million for the 2021 season.

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Mingo Began His Career in Cleveland

Mingo, 30, originally signed with the Cleveland Browns as a former sixth-overall pick in 2013.

The athletic linebacker spent time around the league playing for other teams, including the New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and most recently, the Cleveland Browns in 2020.

Last year in the Windy City, Mingo logged 2.5 sacks and 35 combined tackles in 16 games. In 8 years in the league, he has only missed just two games and has totaled 12.5 sacks.

The Falcons won’t expect him to be a game-changer, but he’s an affordable addition that could potentially thrive in Deen Peas’ defense. However, he will have to prove himself at training camp this offseason to make the final roster cut.

Atlanta might look to Mingo to play mostly special teams snaps considering he’s played at least 63% of the special teams’ snaps per year through the last six seasons.

Mingo joins Erik Harris, Brandon Copeland, and Lee Smith in the latest depth additions with special teams’ experience.

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Falcons’ Other Defense Additions

The Falcons signed two other veteran defensive players over the weekend in safety Erik Harris and outside linebacker Brandon Copeland.

Harris, 30, started 12 games for the Raiders this past season. Prior to his four-year stint with Las Vegas, Harris spent the 2016 season with the Saints where Falcons’ new general manager Terry Fontenot was the assistant general manager/director of pro personnel during that time.

In five NFL seasons, Harris has recorded five interceptions in his career and 20 pass deflections in his career. The former undrafted free agent fills an immediate need at the Falcons’ safety position with a veteran presence.

Copeland, 29, spent last year with the Patriots where he started four games. Prior to his time in New England, Copeland had stints with the New York Jets and Detroit Lions. Copeland reunites with former Jets’ linebackers coach Frank Bush who Atlanta recently hired.

Under Bush in 2019 and 2020, Copeland recorded a career-high 6.5 sacks. In five NFL seasons, Copeland has racked up 119 tackles, 19 quarterback hits, and seven sacks.

The first move Atlanta made was trading the Buffalo Bills’ tight end Lee Smith.

Smith has played 10 seasons in the league, six of them with the Bills and four with the Oakland Raiders. In that time span, Smith has recorded 64 catches for 458 yards and 10 touchdowns over his career.

Hayden Hurst is Atlanta’s only primary tight end so Lee adds some necessary depth and the Falcons seem to be on the search for another young face at that position.

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