Discussion in 'Draft Day Zone' started by Hostile, Apr 22, 2005.
From New England
Cardinals select...Lance Mitchell
ILB | (6'2", 247, 4.89) | OKLAHOMA
Strengths: Has excellent size, is instinctive and shows good short area quickness. Fills hard versus the run, plays with good leverage and shows explosive power in his hips. He plays with balance and generally stays under control. Is an aggressive, intense player that will track a lot of plays down from sideline-to-sideline. Is a powerful tackler with good pop at the POA. Does a nice job of wrapping up in the open field. Shows very good instincts and upfield quickness as a blitzer.
Weaknesses: Durability is the biggest concern after season-ending knee injury in 2003. He looked more hesitant following the injury in 2004 and he clearly lost a lot of his speed and agility. Not as explosive as he once was, lacked the same closing burst and wasn't as fluid as he was prior to the injury. He still needs to improve in terms of his hand usage and ability to shed blockers at the POA. He lacks ideal upper body strength and needs to work to improve that. Lacks same instincts in coverage that he possesses as a run defender Will be over-aggressive versus the play-fake at times. Needs to become more disciplined in his reads and take fewer false steps in coverage.
Overall: Mitchell originally signed with Florida but was ineligible and transferred to City College of San Francisco, where he played from 2000-'01. He transferred to Oklahoma in December of 2001, took over the starting middle linebacker job that season, and finished with a team-high 124 tackles, 19 for loss and three sacks. Mitchell was off to a great start in 2003 and, in our opinion, had emerged as the best linebacker prospect in the 2004 class before sustaining a season-ending torn ACL in his right knee against Fresno State on September 13th. After successfully rehabilitating the knee, Mitchell returned for his final year of collegiate eligibility in 2004 and regained his starting MLB position. He finished the 2004 season with 72 total tackles, including 10 TFL and two sacks. While Mitchell did make a successful return and eased a lot of doubts about his durability, he wasn't anywhere near the same explosive playmaker that he was prior to the injury. He was a bit more tentative and he didn't show the same closing burst or COD skills that he once flashed. He should continue to improve in those areas with more time to improve the strength of that knee and to regain confidence in it, but the bottom line is that he's a risky Day 1 draft prospect. Furthermore, after an absolutely unimpressive showing at the combine, where he ranked near the bottom of the ILB's in terms of the bench press (15 reps), 40-yard dash (4.89), short-shuttle (4.38) and three-cone drill (7.49), it wouldn't be shocking if Mitchell slipped out of the first day.
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