NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
The Patriots have made some moves recently that would indicate that they will be in the market for some new faces at the Wide Receiver position. We will find out in the next week or so if the team plans to fill that void in free agency or if they will opt to go with younger players from the draft. If the Patriots do decide to wait until the draft, a player that may be on their radar is Malcolm Mitchell from Georgia. Here is what I saw from reviewing his tape.
Name: Malcolm Mitchell (#26)
School: University of Georgia (Sr.)
Height: 6’0″ (combine)
Weight: 198 Lbs. (combine
Mitchell has a good combination of height, weight, and speed for the position. While he did not run a complicated route tree at Georgia, he showed excellent skills in setting up defenders to get open. Mitchell is very quick and he attacks defenders, getting them off balance and out of position. He can win with both his athleticism as well as his intelligence, which is rare for a college player. Mitchell is a very strong in and out of his cuts, showing excellent change of direction. He attacks the football with his large hands and uses them well to catch just about everything thrown at him. Mitchell has good speed and can stretch the field. He tracks the ball well and has good timing on his jumps to high point the ball. He is a strong player who can win jump ball situations and has the frame and mentality to be successful playing in traffic. Off the field, Mitchell sounds like a really good guy who took a negative (difficulty reading even in college) and made it a positive (wrote a children’s book and reads to grade school students on a regular basis.)
There is not a ton of negatives for Mitchell on the tape. His route tree was rather simplistic at Georgia, consisting of mainly slants and go routes, so there could be some growing pains learning a more complex form of football. Mitchell lacks strength and struggles with physical corners. He will get pushed around and struggles in traffic. The big red flag for Mitchell is his injury history and his future durability concerns. He has had multiple knee injuries in college and where he is ultimately drafted could be determined by what the doctors have to say.
As you can see by the relatively small write up in the negatives portion of this report, I really like Malcolm Mitchell. His off field story is a good one and it shows a guy who is willing to work hard at something and then help others as well. I am shocked that Mitchell is not talked about more, especially in this WR class that is lacking star players. Mitchell has a great combination of athleticism to go a long with great hands. He has played a lot of different roles at Georgia so he is behind from a route running perspective, but he shows all the traits to be very good at the next level, he just needs time. He has good straight line speed and good change of direction, so he has the potential to be a threat anywhere on the field. I think the knee issues are a concern, but if he had played injury free we would be talking about this guy much higher in the draft. His medical evalution will determine where he gets drafted, but from just the film, I think he is a 3rd round type of guy and he could be a steal if he goes any later than that.