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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Earl Mitchell

Height: 6-2 | Weight: 296 | College: Arizona
 
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Overview

Mitchell signed with Arizona as a 250-pound fullback and tight end. Facing the option of not seeing the field much with the Wildcats' switch to a spread offense in 2008, Mitchell trusted the coaching staff that asked him to make the move to defensive tackle. It proved to be a wise career move.

Mitchell impressed in his first season at defensive tackle, leading the Wildcats' defensive line with 40 tackles, as well as posting 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Despite extra focus from opponents as a senior, Mitchell improved his totals, racking up 48 stops, 12.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks despite missing a start against Washington due to an eye injury.

A strong performance during the week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game helped Mitchell develop some momentum heading into the final months before the draft. NFL scouts love Mitchell's athleticism and work ethic, but may struggle to find a spot for him at his size. Some even feel his future position in the NFL might lie back on the offensive side of the ball as a fullback.

Analysis

Pass rush: At least moderate initial quickness and can get skinny to slide through the gap and disrupt the play immediately. Quick, active hands to battle inside. Flashes a good swim and rip move, but needs to use each more often. Relies too much on a marginally effective bull rush. Has a second burst to close when he has a lane, but tires quickly. Struggles to change direction and too often can be eluded for a defensive tackle with his size and relative athleticism.

Run defense: Flashes a quick burst laterally to penetrate. Good balance in tight quarters and feel to handle the trap block. Plays stouter than his frame would indicate due to good use of leverage and leg drive, but is never going to be a true run-stuffer. Hustles laterally in pursuit.

Explosion: Can surprise the guard with his initial burst to slip through the gap. Quick, active hands and good upper body strength to knock the offensive lineman back off the snap.

Strength: Good leg drive to lock out and anchor, though he lacks the bulk to hold up to double-teams. Can push offensive guards into the pocket to create a disruption in the running game. Good strength for the drag-down tackle while still engaged with the blocker.

Tackling: Classic catch and drag-down tackler. Has a burst to close and flashes some pop when given space to gain momentum. Provides good effort laterally, but isn't able to stalk the ball-carrier, showing only marginal body control.

Intangibles: Caught 13 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in 2006-07 as a part-time starting H-back. Missed the 2009 game against Washington due to a freak injury to his eye after it was hit by the corner of a door. Highly respected by fans, teammates and the coaching staff. Voted a 2009 team captain. Struggled with academics early in his career, but was named a winner of the National Academic Momentum Award which is presented by the Scholar-Baller Program in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports. High-effort player with some legitimate upside as a relative neophyte at the position.

2009 Season

Mitchell was selected Second Team All-Pac-10 Conference in 2009. Mitchell has 44 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 1 PBU and 1 forced fumble.

2008 Season

Moved to defensive tackle in spring '08 after two years as a tight end and H-back in the program, and the move was effective … Clearly the consistent factor up front for the No. 24-rated Wildcat total defense, leading all linemen with 40 hits … Career-high eight tackles against Toledo … Strong down the stretch with 16 hits in the final four games … Coaches' citation for defensive player of the week against UCLA and ASU.

2007 Season

Caught five passes for 38 yards, including a touchdown at BYU … Had a kickoff return for eight yards vs. UCLA from a wing position … Five starts as a tight end or H-back.

2006 Season

Caught nine passes for 136 yards in 2006 … First touchdown catch was a game-igniting play at Oregon … Career-best two grabs in LSU, Cal and Oregon games … Seven starts as the big back or tight end … Rushed four times for seven yards in short-yardage situations … Had UA's lone blocked kick of the year, a tipped punt at LSU … One of the Cats' early commitments in '06 class … Continued the program's recruiting success in the Houston area.

High School

North Shore Senior High School, Galena Park, Texas, 2006 … 2005 first-team All-District 23-5A honors for coach David Aymond … 5A All-Region III second-team … No. 9 tight end on Texas HS Football.com top 200 … Houston Chronicle top 5 area receivers recruit … Rivals.com three-star No. 6 rating at fullback, Scout thee stars … Dave Campbell's Texas Football Top 10 tight end … Dallas Morning News State 100 … Rivals.com postseason Texas 100 honors … PrepStar All-Midlands … SuperPrep All-Southwest in 2005 … Mustangs were 11-1 under coach Dave Aymond in 2005, their lone loss in area playoffs … San Antonio Express Texas 100, No. 82 … Port Arthur News area top prospects list as tight end … Also played some quarterback in high school … Had a 6'-10" high jump as a sophomore.

Personal

Follows some North Shore products that were UA starters - Sean Jones, Chris Johnson, Michael Jolivette and Reggie Sampay … Date of birth: Sept. 25, 1987.

 
Latest News
04/26/2010 - DT Earl Mitchell, a third-round pick, grew up in Houston and played at North Shore High School. He went to Arizona as a 240-pound tight end. He was moved to the defensive line his last two years. He was 6-3, 296 at the combine, where he ran the 40 in 4.76.

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