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2015 NFL DRAFT
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Mike Mitchell

Height: 6-0 | Weight: 220 | College: Ohio
 
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Overview

The hard-hitting, versatile defender has outstanding quickness and good power, showing that he can come up and make plays inside the box. He began his career as a free safety, shifting to strong safety during the 2006 GMAC Bowl, where he would line up for his final 22 games. Few safeties in the collegiate ranks showed the acceleration and closing speed that Mitchell possesses.

That speed was put to great use as a Bobcat. He would go on to register 212 tackles (126 solos), with 90 of those hits coming in run support, including 15 that he recorded behind the line of scrimmage. He also proved to be a steady ball hawk, defending 20 passes during his career and generating 140 yards on seven interception returns.

Mitchell was a well-rounded and respected student at Highlands High School, where he was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. On the field, he lettered three times, twice earning Kentucky All-Star honors, in addition to being selected All-State honorable mention as a senior. That year, he led the Bluebirds to the state title, recording 87 tackles with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown.

Mitchell enrolled at Ohio University in 2005, seeing action in nine games at both safety positions as a true freshman. He delivered 21 tackles (16 solos) with a forced fumble and two pass deflections while playing mostly behind Todd Koenig at strong safety.

As a sophomore, he shifted to free safety at midseason, as the coaches wanted to get him and Koenig on the field at the same time. He started the team's final eight games, but shifted to strong safety for the GMAC Bowl. He finished fifth on the team with 55 tackles (27 solos) that included five stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also picked off a pair of passes and deflected two others.

In 2007, Mitchell took over strong safety duties, starting all 11 games he played in. He missed the Louisiana-Lafayette clash due to a right shoulder contusion and played in the last four contests wearing a cast to protect a broken bone in his right hand. He still managed to rank third on the squad with 74 tackles (47 solos), adding 1.5 sacks while knocking down four passes and intercepting two others.

The injury bug hit again in 2008, as Mitchell missed most of the Buffalo game and sat out vs. Bowling Green with a knee sprain. He placed fourth on the squad with 62 tackles (36 solos), making 4.5 stops for loss while causing two fumbles. He had five pass deflections and led the team with three interceptions.

Analysis

Positives: Excellent size/speed combination with well-developed upper and lower bodies. Lights up receivers coming over the middle and running backs in the flat. Flies up from the deep backfield on blitzes and levels unsuspecting quarterbacks and ballcarriers coming into the hole. Has the range to cross the field after reading the quarterback's eyes. Good, not great, hands for the interception and has the speed to make yardage on the return. Fairly smooth in his backpedal, can change directions quickly when maintaining his balance.

Negatives: His interest in making the big hit causes him to miss tackles in the open field. Missile with limited instincts, and could be an injury risk because of the play he ways. Runs around blocks instead of taking them on and shedding using his hands. Usually sees the play in front of him; a read-and-react player who may struggle with misdirection and double moves at the next level. Has the speed to recover against MAC opponents, but may not against NFL receivers. Faced lower level of quarterback play and used his speed to catch up to weak downfield throws.

Compares To: JOSH BULLOCKS, New Orleans -- Mitchell might be a better fit at free safety because of his range, natural hands, good ball-hawking ability and ability to keep plays in front of him. He will have a few problems staying with deep receivers, but takes good angles to close, especially when playing inside the box.

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT: GRADE: 6.28

Athletic Ability: Mitchell has loose hips and good change of direction agility. He is quicker than he is fast, as he doesn't show that sudden burst to explode into the backfield despite his impressive timed speed, but he runs with a normal stride and builds to top speed nicely. He has the range and lateral movements to redirect and plays with a high motor. He shows very good balance closing on the ball and uses his upper body strength effectively to impede the tight end's route progression. GRADE: 6.7

Football Sense: Mitchell showed much better focus as a senior, having a year under his belt to digest a new defensive system after shifting to strong safety as a junior. He is a good student and has valid instincts and the ability to retain plays with minimal reps. He is best when anticipating plays in front of him, but will bite some on play-action. Otherwise, it is rare to see him caught out of position. GRADE: 6.0

Character: Mitchell is a well-liked character who is quiet and respectful. He lets his actions speak for him on the field, but enjoys mentoring the younger players. He has no known off-field issues and very easy to get along with, taking well to hard coaching. GRADE: 6.2

Competitiveness: Mitchell plays with good urgency and is alert to blocking schemes. He is capable of calling the secondary coverage assignments. He does a good job of keeping plays in front of him, but might be better suited for the free safety position, as he not only has the quickness to close and range to recover but is better playing a finesse game. He has good strength, but does not obliterate receivers. He is capable of throwing his body around in run support and hustles to the ball. He likes contact working near the pile, but needs to improve his upper body strength in order to "blow up" opponents at the next level. GRADE: 6.3

Work Habits: Mitchell is a great program player who works hard in the training room and puts in the extra hours to watch game film. He takes well to hard coaching and became a take-charge leader in 2007. He does everything the coaches ask and relishes his role on the special team coverage units. His performance and demeanor on the field brings out the best in his teammates, who try to emulate. GRADE: 6.2

ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 6.32

Key and Diagnostic Skills: Mitchell shows good field vision and urgency keeping plays in front of him. Once he locates the ball, he is quick to accelerate to the action. It is rare to see him caught out of position. He understands route progression well and takes proper angles to close. GRADE: 6.3

Man Coverage Ability: Mitchell has some experience in man coverage, but is not used much in this area. He shows good acceleration in and out of his breaks with good press technique, but is better covering the tight ends and slot receivers than covering the opponent in deep routes (bites on play-action), as he tends to leave too much cushion. GRADE: 5.7

Zone Coverage Ability: Mitchell can quickly react and cover ground to make the plays. He showed marked improvement in 2007 in attempts to adjust to the switch-off. His range lets him close with good urgency, playing with better consistency in the deep centerfield. He is much more active in the short zone because of his ability to read the action in front of him. His vision lets him spot the secondary targets and he has developed better break-off vs. the three-step throws. He just needs to remain consistent in getting over quicker to offer deep help. GRADE: 6.4

Backpedal Skills: Mitchell has the loose hips to quickly redirect. He has smooth foot movement in his backpedal and it is rare to see him get up on his heels or get his weight back. He has good change of direction to make plays along the perimeter and can flip his hips, turn and close with good urgency. When he gets too high in his pedal, he will shuffle and bail at times, but this is not a crucial problem. He doesn't explode out of his breaks, but he doesn't take wasted steps either. GRADE: 6.2

Ball Reaction Skills: This is one of his better areas. Mitchell drives to the ball with good urgency. He has the hand strength to drag down runners along the perimeter or reroute tight ends and slot receivers in the short area. He gives too much cushion at times when playing deep in the secondary, but has the quickness to close laterally and vs. plays in front of him. He can close ground well, but must develop a second gear, as he will struggle at times to catch up from behind (speed levels off going long distances, but that could be a byproduct of his ankle and hamstring injuries in 2008). He allowed only six catches on plays in front of him as a senior, demonstrating good hands and timing to compete for the ball at its high point. His good plant-and-drive agility is evident when closing. GRADE: 6.3

Range/Recovery: Despite his timed speed, Mitchell might lack explosion coming out of his breaks, but he has the fluid stride and hand placement skills to mirror tight ends in the short area. He takes proper angles to shorten the field and stays in control closing on the ball (rare to see him over-pursue). He is quick to support vs. the run and has good closing acceleration that he uses in backside pursuit. GRADE: 6.3

Jumping Ability: Mitchell has natural hands, above average leaping ability and good timing to compete for jump balls. He can look the pass in over his outside shoulder and his timing lets him consistently get to the pass at its high point. He can run and adjust to the ball in the air and has the height and strength to match up well vs. tight ends and the larger receivers. GRADE: 6.6

Hands: Mitchell does a very good job of extending and plucking the ball away from his frame. He has good timing vs. the high throws and is confident using his hand strength in press coverage. GRADE: 6.5

Run Defense: Mitchell takes good angles to close. He knows how to use his hands to slip off blocks and generate pocket pressure, but is not used on the blitz as much as he should. He shows no hesitation hurling his body around to make plays along the line. He is tough to contain once he gets a head of steam going and is alert to pullers, staying low in his pads to cut them down. He worked hard in the off-season, taking a better approach in his pursuit angles. He has a good feel for run support lanes and with his body control and leverage, he has been very consistent in making the stop at the line of scrimmage. Close to 45 percent of his plays (92 of 212) have been made in run support since enrolling at Ohio University. GRADE: 6.6

Tackling Ability: When he stays low in his pads, Mitchell hits with good aggression and improved wrap-up technique. When he gets too high in his stance, he will miss and fail to recover. He has the speed to chase down plays in backside pursuit, doing a good job of breaking down and face up. He is not the type that will punish opponents, as he sometimes leaves his feet, but he is effective at cutting down ball carriers along the perimeter. GRADE: 6.3

Compares To: JOSH BULLOCKS, New Orleans -- Mitchell might be a better fit at free safety because of his range, natural hands, good ball-hawking ability and ability to keep plays in front of him. He will have a few problems staying with deep receivers, but takes good angles to close, especially when playing inside the box.

OVERALL GRADE: 6.31

--Report by Dave-Te Thomas

Career Notes

Mitchell started 30 of 45 games at Ohio University; 23 at strong safety and seven at free safety … Recorded 212 tackles (126 solos) with three sacks for minus 26 yards, 15 stops for losses of 58 yards and one quarterback pressure … Recovered one fumble and caused four others … Deflected 13 passes and intercepted seven others, as his 140 yards in returns tied Mike Schott (1967-69) for eighth on the school career-record list … His total of 20 passes defended rank seven in Bobcats annals.

2008 Season

Super Sleeper Team selection by The NFL Draft Report … Started 11 games at strong safety … Sat out the Bowling Green game and missed most of the Buffalo clash after he suffered a knee sprain during the first series vs. the Bulls … Still managed to finish fourth on the team with 62 tackles (36 solos) that included an assisted sack for minus 4 yards and 4.5 stops for losses of 13 yards … Caused two fumbles and deflected five passes … Led the Bobcats with three interceptions for 61 yards in returns.

2008 Game Analysis

Wyoming … Mitchell posted eight tackles (4 solos), including one tackle for loss, in the Bobcats' narrow 21-20 loss to the Cowboys … In the first quarter, the Ohio safety tackled Wyoming tailback Devin Moore for a 3-yard loss … Late in the fourth quarter, Mitchell limited Moore to 1 yard on a rushing attempt from the Wyoming 30-yard line.

Ohio State … The Ohio safety made five tackles (2 solos) and broke up one pass in the Bobcats' 26-14 loss to the Buckeyes … Near the end of the third quarter, Mitchell broke up a pass from OSU quarterback Todd Boeckman to wide receiver Brian Hartline deep in Ohio territory.

Central Michigan … Mitchell finished with eight tackles (4 solos) and one pass break-up in Ohio's 31-28 loss to MAC-rival Central Michigan … At the 10:17 mark in the second quarter, Mitchell deflected a pass from CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour to wide receiver Bryan Anderson … Early in the fourth quarter, on 3rd-&-7 from the Ohio 29-yard line, Mitchell allowed CMU wide receiver Jean Pitts to haul in a 27-yard pass from LeFevour for a first down at the Bobcats' 2 … Later in the fourth quarter, on 3rd-&-9 from the CMU 32-yard line, Mitchell limited Pitts to 2 yards on a reception from LeFevour, forcing the Chippewas to punt on fourth down.

Northwestern … Mitchell recorded five tackles (2 solos) and two interceptions, tying his career high, in Ohio's 16-8 loss to Northwestern … Early in the first quarter, Mitchell was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul, moving the Northwestern offense to their own 39 … At the 5:30 mark in the first quarter, Mitchell picked off Northwestern quarterback C.J. Bacher at the Ohio 29 and returned the pick 43 yards, setting up the Bobcats' offense at the Wildcats' 28 … With 9:55 left in the game, Mitchell recorded his second pick of the contest, intercepting Bacher at the Northwestern 36-yard line.

Virginia Military Institute … The Ohio safety posted four solo tackles, including one tackle for loss, and a career-high two forced fumbles in the Bobcats' 51-31 victory over VMI … On VMI's first drive of the game, Mitchell was flagged for a personal foul, moving the Keydets' offense to the Ohio 11-yard line … At the 8:20 mark in the first quarter, Mitchell forced VMI tailback Howard Abegesah to fumble the ball, which was recovered by the Keydets at the Ohio 36 … Later in the first quarter, the Ohio safety stripped VMI receiver Tim Maypray of the ball, which was recovered by the Keydets at the Bobcats' 46 … Early in the fourth quarter, on 3rd-&-4 from the Ohio 14-yard line, Mitchell tackled VMI tailback Bryan Barnson for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt, forcing the Keydets to attempt a field goal, which was missed wide left.

Western Michigan … Mitchell finished with three tackles (1 solo) and one pass break-up in the Bobcats' 41-20 loss to MAC-rival Western Michigan … Early in the second quarter, on 3rd-&-5 from the Ohio 22-yard line, Mitchell broke up a pass from WMU quarterback Tim Hiller to tight end Branden Ledbetter, forcing the Broncos to attempt a field goal, which was missed wide left … Early in the third quarter, Mitchell tackled WMU tailback Brandon West at the Broncos' 34-yard line for a 5-yard loss.

Kent State … Mitchell recorded six tackles (2 solos) and one pass break-up in Ohio's 26-19 victory over Kent State … Early in the second quarter, Mitchell swatted away a pass from KSU quarterback Julian Edelman to wide receiver Shawn Bayes … Early in the third quarter, the Ohio safety tackled Edelman for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt inside Bobcat territory … At the 12:42 mark in the fourth quarter, Mitchell stopped KSU tailback Eugene Jarvis for no gain.

Temple … The Ohio safety posted five tackles (4 solos) and 0.5 sack in the Bobcats' 14-10 loss to the Owls … With 2:59 left in the first quarter, Mitchell tackled Temple receiver James Nixon for a 3-yard loss on a rushing attempt … At the 7:13 mark in the second quarter, the Ohio safety sacked Temple quarterback Adam DiMichele at the Owls' 36-yard line for an 8-yard loss … With less than four minutes left in the game, on 3rd-&-10 from the Ohio 18-yard line, Mitchell allowed Temple wide receiver Bruce Francis to pick up a first down with a 17-yard pass reception from DiMichele.

Buffalo … Mitchell had just two solo tackles before leaving the game with a knee sprain after the first series … On the Bull's first offensive possession of the game, on 3rd-&-2 from the Ohio 46-yard line, Buffalo quarterback Drew Willy rushed for 26 yards to the Bobcats' 20-yard line, where he was finally wrapped up by Mitchell. The Ohio safety was flagged for a personal foul on the play, moving the Buffalo offense to the Ohio 10.

Bowling Green … Missed the game due to the knee sprain suffered vs. Buffalo.

Akron … After sitting out the Bowling Green contest with an injury, Mitchell returned to action vs. Akron, making nine tackles (6 solos) and breaking up one pass in the Bobcats' 49-42 victory over the Zips … Midway through the first quarter, on 3rd-&-5 from the Ohio 14-yard line, Mitchell allowed Akron wide receiver Jeremy Bruce to pick up the first down with an 11-yard reception from quarterback Chris Jacquemain … Near the end of the third quarter, on 3rd-&-5 from the Akron 46-yard line, Zip wide receiver Alphonso Owen hauled in an 11-yard pass from Jacquemain for a first down with Mitchell in coverage … Early in the fourth quarter, on 3rd-&-15 from the Akron 41-yard line, Mitchell extracted some revenge, breaking up Jacquemain's pass to Owen, forcing the Zips to punt on fourth down.

Miami (Ohio) … Mitchell finished his Ohio career with seven tackles (4 solos) and one interception, helping the Bobcats defeat the RedHawks, 41-26 … On Miami's first drive of the game, on 3rd-&-2 from the Ohio 43-yard line, Mitchell limited Miami tailback J.R. Taylor to a 1-yard rush … At the 1:31 mark in the third quarter, Mitchell picked off Miami quarterback Daniel Raudabaugh at the Ohio 30-yard line, returning the interception 18 yards to midfield … Record Watch-Mitchell's 18 interception-return yards gave him 140 yards for his career, moving him into a tie for eighth place all-time at Ohio.

2007 Season

Mitchell took over strong safety duties, starting eleven games despite battling several injuries … Missed the Louisiana-Lafayette contest after he left the Gardner-Webb clash after the second series with a right shoulder sprain. An MRI showed no structural damage … Suffered a high ankle sprain in practice prior to the Eastern Michigan game and played wearing a soft cast in his final four games due to a broken bone in his right hand … Still finished third on the team with 74 tackles (47 solos) that included 1.5 sacks for minus 13 yards, four stops for losses of 22 yards and a quarterback pressure … Recovered one fumble and deflected four passes … Led the Bobcats with a pair of interceptions for 49 yards in returns.

2007 Game Analysis

Virginia Tech … Posted seven tackles (4 solos) … Midway through the first quarter, he stopped tailback Branden Ore for no gain on a first-&-goal run at the Ohio 10 and on the next snap, he stripped the ball from receiver Josh Morgn after a 3-yard catch and Ohio's Landon Cohen recovered it for a 3-yard return.

Wyoming … Delivered fourteen tackles (9 solos) with an 8-yard sack and a pair of pass thefts … On the second play of the game, he clobbered fullback Wynel Seldon for no gain on a rushing attempt … On a third-&-6 snap, he sacked QB Karsten Sween for an 8-yard loss, bringing out the punting unit … Early in the second quarter, he again leveled Seldon at the line of scrimmage and two plays later, he picked off Sween's pass near mid field … In the fourth quarter, he returned his second interception 49 yards to set up an Ohio 30-yard field goal.

Kent State … Mitchell posted twelve tackles (5 solos) with a pair of pass deflections, as he brought down tailback Eugene Jarvis for a 5-yard loss early in the first quarter and then leveled Jarvis for a 4-yard loss at the start of the second stanza.

Eastern Michigan … The strong safety made seven tackles (5 solos), as he first stopped DeAnthony White for a 2-yard loss on a late first quarter screen pass and killed third and fourth quarter drives by deflecting third-down tosses away from White.

Toledo … Registered eight tackles (7 solos), as he also pressured QB Aaron Opelt into throwing an incomplete pass on second-&-goal at the Ohio 3 midway through the third quarter.

Temple … Mitchell was in on five tackles, joining up with Lee Renfro to sack QB Vaughn Charlton for a 10-yard loss on third-&-9, forcing the Owls to punt.

2006 Season

Mitchell played in all fourteen games, starting the last eight contests that included seven at free safety before shifting to strong safety for the GMAC Bowl … Ranked fifth on the team with 55 tackles (27 solos), including a 9-yard sack and five stops for losses of 20 yards … Caused a fumble, deflected two passes and intercepted two others for 30 yards in returns.

2006 Game Analysis

Northern Illinois … Had just three tackles, but forced NIU to punt after he took down tailback Garrett Wolfe for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-1 carry in the second quarter.

Bowling Green … Mitchell tallied five tackles (3 solos), including one that stopped Anthony Turner for a 7-yard loss on a second quarter rushing attempt.

Western Michigan … Collected seven tackles (3 solos), as he also sacked QB Ryan Cubit for a 9-yard loss on a third-&-2 snap, bringing out the WMU punt unit early in the second quarter.

Kent State … The free safety made five tackles (4 solos) and caused a fumble when he stripped the ball from QB Julian Edelman on a third-&-3 bootleg in the third quarter, but KSU recovered the pigskin and then was forced to punt.

Eastern Michigan … Mitchell delivered just two tackles, but he returned his first career interception 30 yards in the third quarter, setting up an 11-yard touchdown run by Ohio tailback Kalvin McRae.

Central Michigan … Followed with six tackles (4 solos), as he forced CMU to settle for a 27-yard field goal after he tackled Bryan Anderson for a 1-yard loss on a third-&-7 screen pass in the second quarter of the MAC Championship Game … In the third quarter, he intercepted a Dan LeFevouer pass in the end zone for a touchback.

2005 Season

Mitchell appeared in nine games as a true freshman, recording 21 tackles (16 solos) with 1.5 stops for minus 3 yards … Caused a fumble and deflected two passes … Made his first collegiate appearance vs. Pittsburgh … Recorded the first tackles of his career at Bowling Green with five stops, including his first tackle for loss … Had a season-high eight tackles and also forced his first career fumble vs. Toledo.

Injury Report

2007: Left the Gardner-Webb game (9/01) after the second series and sat out the next game vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (9/08) after he suffered a right shoulder sprain, but an MRI revealed no structural damage … Played with his ankle heavily taped vs. Eastern Michigan (10/13) after he sprained it in practice (10/11) … Suffered a broken bone in his right hand vs. Bowling Green (10/27) and played in his final three games wearing a soft cast.

2008: Did not play vs. Bowling Green (11/08) after leaving during the first series of the Buffalo clash (10/28) with a knee sprain.

2009: Failed to complete the agility tests during Pro Day (3/12) due to a hamstring pull.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.39 in the 40-yard dash … 1.50 10-yard dash … 2.55 20-yard dash … 4.19 20-yard shuttle … 11.33 60-yard shuttle … 6.85 three-cone drill … 37.5-inch vertical jump … 10'3" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times … 32 3/8-inch arm length … 9 1/2-inch hands.

Combine: Did not receive an invitation.

Pro Day (From Springfield News Sun): 4.4 seconds in 40-yard dash. … Bench-pressed 225 pounds 22 times. … 37.5-inch vertical jump. … 10'3" broad jump. … Could not participate in shuttle runs or positional drills after pulling his hamstring on his first 40.

High School

Attended Highlands (Fort Thomas, Ky.) High School, where he lettered three times, twice earning Kentucky All-Star honors, in addition to being selected All-State honorable mention as a senior … That year, he led the Bluebirds to the state title, recording 87 tackles with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown … Was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Personal

Political Science major … Son of Marchelle and Maurice Mitchell … Resides in Fort Thomas, Kentucky.

 
Latest News
04/28/2009 - Safety Mike Mitchell isn't shying away from his reputation as a big hitter. "When you see highlights of this guy, you're going to see a guy that reminds you - and I don't want to put too much pressure on the guy - of Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott," coach Tom Cable said. "He has that mentality. He literally knocks people out." Mitchell was flattered, but didn't mind the comparison. "I remember watching ESPN Classic with my dad, we'd watch old films of Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott and he'd say, 'That's how you play football.' From a young age, I knew it was about hitting and being physical. I definitely model myself after those two individuals. I like to impose myself on other people."

04/28/2009 - A closer look at the Raiders' picks: Round 2/47 -- Mike Mitchell, S, 6-1, 221, Ohio University...The Raiders are crossing their fingers that Mitchell moves right in as an immediate starter at strong safety alongside free safety Hiram Eugene. Short of that, Mitchell will be a short-yardage defender and a special teams force because of what coach Tom Cable calls "ferocious" hitting ability.

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