NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken
When Day 2 of the draft ended, I was down on the draft. I was confused and angry with the direction the Patriots had decided to go with their first 4 picks. Day 3 of the draft in Chicago started out cold and rainy, which fit my attitude perfectly. As the Patriots first pick was about to be announced, the rain had let up and there was a small glimmer of sunshine. Maybe it was foreshadowing, but when the name Malcolm Mitchell was announced, a smile came over my face. Why you ask? Read on to find out.
Mitchell was my favorite pick of the draft for the Patriots. I had pegged Mitchell as a possibility for the team fairly early in the process. I wrote about him in my pre-draft reports (http://www.nepatriotsdraft.com/2016/03/scouting-report-malcolm-mitchell-wr.html) and I think it covers his skills really well.
I think Mitchell could have a decent role even as a rookie in this offense. He has easy speed and while he was not used as a stretch the field receiver all that much at Georgia, he could be a big play threat. He is such a smooth mover and really is a threat with the ball in his hands. When I first watched Mitchell, I had no idea what his height was, but I wrote down in my notes that I thought he would be around 6’2″. When he measured in at just under 6′, I was shocked. He plays so much bigger than that. He has huge hands and really long arms as well. I envision him in the LaFell role. I think the routes that he ran in college work perfectly for the Patriots offense. He could be that drive starter that LaFell was 2 years ago, running slants, comebacks, back shoulder, and outs. The nice thing is, with his speed and athleticism, every once in awhile they could set a defender up for a stop and go or just a straight 9 route. If you have not watched him, I recommend you do. He makes some spectacular catches that go unappreciated. In the Missouri game this past year, he made a great catch on an in route on 3rd and 8 to get the first down. He had 2 guys all over him and the pass was high and he just snagged it out of the air. You find it on any highlight tape, but he made so many of those type of catches last year.
I think Mitchell will be what we all hoped Dobson would be. While he may not be a true deep threat that fans have wanted, he has good enough speed that defenders will have to respect it. He has very reliable hands and is a good route runner. I think he can come in and contribute early. One thing I know for sure, with the weapons the team had and the new ones they have brought in, this offense is going to be fun to watch.