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Mike Mitchell Q&A

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, April 25th, 2009 at 8:20 pm in Oakland Raiders.

Having never seen him play other than a few clips of him laying out an opposing player, I have no idea if Mike Mitchell is the long-sought answer at safety for the Raiders. But I’m guessing you’re going to like what you hear from him.

A transcript of a conference call with Raiders second-round pick Mike Mitchell, No. 47 overall:

Q: Some draft analysts were surprised you went so high. Were you?

Mitchell: To be honest about it, my agent said there was a really good chance I could go early. I visited a lot of teams, I visited eight teams within the last month, so I knew there were a lot of teams that were interested. It was going to come down to who needed and wanted me more. This is a life-long dream that I’ve had. I’m extremely pumped. I’m shocked that it happened so quickly. It’s something you work for your entire life, and then one day, it’s just given to you. As far as what round I went in, (phone cuts out briefly) third round, my agent was saying there’s an extremely high possibility that you could get up there.

Q: Don’t make combine, what were you able to do last few months . . .

Mitchell: Coming from a small school, I don’t know who votes for the combine and everything like that, I definitely feel like I’m a good football player. I think when my tape got out, people started really evaluating me and looking at my play, with the 40 times and my Pro Day, people were saying he’s a for real football player, he just happened to play at a small school. I think once they started to realize that and see that, that’s when the interest picked up.

Q: Biggest hitter in draft, according to Tom Cable. Something you’ve prided yourself on?

Mitchell: I remember being a young kid and watching, not NFL Network but ESPN classic, my dad and I would watch old films of Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott and he’d say, that’s how you play football. So 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. Obviously, I think I’m a good guy in coverage, I can get interceptions and return the ball when I can, but if there’s an opportunity, I usually take my shots, but if I get a shot to hit you, then I’m going to try and knock the person out.

Q: Have you knocked some guys out on the field?

Mitchell: I think there’s been like three, but everybody usually gets up, but there’s three that I’ve actually, really, put down.

Q: Were you disappointed not invited to the combine?

Mitchell: I really was. I’d been a starter for three years and had good numbers. Coming from a small school, those voters are going to see the guys that come from the USCs, the Missouris, the Texas’s, and those guys because they think those guys are the best players. I’m just so excited, I feel 100 percent blessed by God to have this opportunity, because not only did I get drafted, but I showed that, hey, maybe you should start looking at these small school guys too.

Q: What did the typical Ohio game look like in terms of attendance?

Mitchell: I think we were on TV like four times this year. And probably about, I’d say, 18,000 at our games.

Q: How did you wind up at a small school?

Mitchell: Well, you’ve got to think, coming out of high school, right now I’m like 6-1, 220 pounds. But coming out of high school I was 5-11, 188 pounds. So I feel like in college they kind of recruit you for what you were coming out of high school. Obviously if you looked at a picture of me when I was in high school to now, you’d say no way it was the same person. Also, coming out of high school I had three offers. I had Ohio University, Miami of Ohio and the University of Cincinnati. Cincinnati was a good school but they were in Conference USA. Ohio had a good coach, Frank Solich, coming in from big-time Nebraska, told me I could play early, and I jumped on that opportunity.

Q: You carry a chip on your shoulder then? And will you still?

Mitchell: I definitely did. I definitely did. I felt snubbed ever since the day that I, like I said, only had those three offers. I’ve always known that I was a good football player. For me to say someone’s better than me, they have to prove it to me. We have to see each other on the field, or however we have to do it. Our teams have to play each other, etc., etc. But you have to prove it to me. Some guys, I went to the camps, I was like, ‘What are they doing?’ Maybe he’s an inch taller than me right now, or he ran a 10th of a 40 time faster than me. Jump to college, now I’m the guy running the 4.3s, the 4.4s. So now, that’s just how it worked out.

Q: What kind of vibe did you get on your visit to Oakland?

Mitchell: Man, it was unreal. I visited maybe 12 teams over the whole process. Like I said, I visited eight over the last month. And everyone, they’re so business-oriented. They want to just bring you in and get your physical. A couple of times I heard, ‘Hey, this isn’t college recruiting. If we draft you, you got no choice but to come here.’ You know what I mean? But when I was out in Oakland, it was very welcoming, and it was a warm place. I just felt it. And then just being around and seeing that tradition, the pictures of Biletnikoff and those guys, Bo Jackson and those guys, I was overwhelmed, like, man, this is a rich tradition. I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you guys and say I was a huge Oakland Raider fan when I was growing up. Obviously, I was right across the river from Cincinnati. Even though they’ve been a bad team, they were the team I rooted for till today. But it was a tradition I knew they had. John Madden coming from there, those type guys. I wanted to really be a part of that. So if I had had my choice, Oakland was definitely my No. 1 choice, just for the chance that I could’ve came in and compete. And that’s the biggest thing I wanted. I wanted to be able to come in and compete. Obviously, they don’t guarantee spots. People’s livelihoods are on the line. No spots are guaranteed but there’s an opportunity to come in and compete. The whole vibe out there felt right. I actually know one of the guys on the team, Ricky Brown, his younger brother Mike Brown played at my college. It was just a really good fit for me. I’m a Christian guy nand I’ve been praying on it and I’m so happy to god that I’m here now I’m ready to show everybody this wasn’t a mistake and I’m for real.

Q: Ricky Brown taught us all about skyline chili.

Mitchell: Oh yeah. I’ve had to lay off that for the last couple of months. As soon as I get a break I’m gonna get me about three or four chili dogs.

Q: Did you have sense Raiders liked you?

Mitchell: I really did. I really did to be 100 percent honest. The whole vibe when I was there felt really good. I felt almost at home there. There was one other place where I actually said I could fit in here just as well as in Oakland. My agent was telling me, ‘teams are really scrambling right now. Mike, you’re a hot commodity now. Somebody will pull the trigger on you it’s just a matter of when.’ My agent was actually thinking I might slip into the first round because I had been to 13 teams. A lot of teams showed a lot of interest. They don’t just bring a guy in for fun. Once that started happening teams were like how bad do I want him. I’m 100 percent confident in my abilities. God has blessed me with some great abilities. I’m just so happy to have this opportunity and I want to take advantage of it for sure.

Q: Thoughts when Raiders traded back?

Mitchell: I thought I was going to Chicago. Because they had told me to stay
close to my phone. When they did that, ‘I was like OK, I’m going to be a Chicago Bear.’ That’s what I was thinking. Oakland was able to get to 47. They traded back and it takes a couple of minutes to tell you where they will be. When I saw it was 47 I thought there was still a chance here we’ll see what happens. It’s so amazing how this has happened and worked out. I’m just pumped.

Q: Do you prefer Mike or Michael?

Mitchell: Mike.

Q: Do you see yourself as strong or free?

Mitchell: I don’t really like to put terms on it. I see myself as a safety.
When people watch film of me, they’ll see a guy that has great range in the deep zones, I can play man-to-man, I have a lot of speed. I can play deep safety. I’m a pretty good hitter. That’s not me saying that it’s just what the tape shows. I’m a solid tackler and I like to be in the box. I can do both. I think that’s why my value was so high because a lot of guys in this draft that could just play free safety or just play strong safety. I kept hearing this term when I visited teams that I was
interchangeable. I can go from free safety one play to strong safety the next.

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  • alisgod

    Why are some of you still whining about us taking him too high? did you not read that Chicago was going to take him at 49?

    When was the last time we have a headhunter in our safeties. WE’ve lived through some very bad safeties for a long long time. This guy will get the nation excited again the moment he KTFO a receiver coming over the middle.

    I wanted Roy Williams but this is even better.

  • NoMoreFargas

    Please let mitchell be the safety we need can’t take another crappy safety pope,dorsett,gibson,huff,wilson and king of missing guys schweigert

  • crister

    last year at this time all i wanted for xmas was some ray ray maualuga.
    i guess now that we’ll most likely have the chance, all i want for xmas next year is some tayler mays or whatever his name is. somehow, i doubt that having mitchell, huff branch and whoever else on the roster will make the raiders want to pass on him. at least, that’s what i hope. just in case, i’m contemplating selling my soul to make sure mays runs a sub 4.35 40. one can never be too sure.

    god, i want to be proven so wrong with my opinion of these two picks. please, please make me eat crow.

  • lefty12

    no-if DHB works hard and still sucks he’ll be a bust like 70% of the people drafted this or any other year.

  • NoMoreFargas

    Yeah they also went into last year thinking kwame harris would be a star and javon walker would light it up sorry but with are track record lately it is hard to get excited about fast guys with suspect hands.

  • http://atm Raider O

    R8,

    This is for you:

    3- M Johnson/ Meredith/ Jarron Gilbert/ or Alex Magee
    4- C Baker/ Dorell Scott/ Sammie Lee/ R Taylor/ or Khalif Mitchell. Or Sidbury.
    4- J Williams/ Z Follett
    6- Clinton McD
    6- Depth
    7- Bear Pascoe

  • Chris in NY

    Here’s what I like in Round 3:

    1) Michael Johnson, DE, G Tech
    2) Duke Robinson, G, Oklahoma
    3) Jasper Brinkley, MLB, S. Carolina
    4) Jaron Gilbert, DE/DT, San Jose State

    Still a lot of really good players out there. Really glad we picked up a 4th and 6th in that trade.

  • Glutten for Punishment

    i have hated AD the last few years but now i FUKKING hate him for these stupid A$$ decisions he always makes.

  • priesttj

    Rickey Dudley was just never got it. The mechanics of catching the football never made sense to him.

    Comparing DHB to Jett and Dudley is out of spite. We were all pissed no one more than myself. DHB will never have elite hands but if he can his work ethic and will are going to pay off thay always do. Dudley never wanted to be great neither did Jett. This kid is totally different he wants to be great, when you aspire to be another Jerry Rice! it tels me he understands the work that needs to be done. Dudley and Jett never had that kind of will.

  • http://atm Raider O

    DHB:

    Ran a 4.30
    39″ vertical
    10-6 broad

  • Glutten for Punishment

    all this waiting and excitment like a kid waiting for Xmas day to come. just to see your gift was a barbie instead of a GIJOE.

  • nader64

    NoMoreFargas Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 10:32 pm
    Yeah they also went into last year thinking kwame harris would be a star and javon walker would light it up sorry but with are track record lately it is hard to get excited about fast guys with suspect hands.

    ^^
    Fair enough but those were free agents. I think all agree here that we did well in that dept. this off-season. If you look at recent drafts, we have made some really nice picks, especially at WR and T. Schilens, JLH, Mario…not to mention Miller and Bush.

  • lefty12

    i actually feel somewhat sorry for DHB.while it is a FACT that it usually takes WRs 2 or more years to develop in the NFL,some Raider fans will expect this kid to be Moss as a rookie.

  • http://atm Raider O

    BHP,

    I agree with met of your post, except the part that he never have elite hands. Rice had a lot of drops his 1st year, remember?

  • 1960AutumnWind

    NoMoreFargas

    Agreed on track record… There are even worse examples such as MeAngelo Hall for a second and a mega contract and the the Garbriel Wilson fiasco and the huge contract for a medicore DT. However, I am still not undertanding exactly what the Raiders did today that was so bad…

    I mean they did reach for DHB – he probably would have went from about 15-25 but this guy was a 1st round receiver (but a good fit for what Oakland was looking for!). It appears they swopped up a 2nd round SS that was getting on everyones radar and then picked up two mid round picks in the process.

    Think about some of these other teams – Detroit shells out 41 million for an average 1st round QB prospect. SF expends the 10th overall for a spread offense WR that is over hyped and has an attitude. It could be much worse….

  • http://atm Raider O

    BHP,

    I agree with most of your post, sorry.

  • priesttj

    Cable thought he turn K Harris around we gave it a year it didn’t work. Luckily we drafted Mario someone Jerry said was another Davis wasted pick. WRONG

    Most of you said JLH would never make it. WRONG

    Here’s a thought what if Crabtree turns out to be a bust instead of DHB. Seems impossible to me but it could happen. Chances are they both will have great careers

  • NoMoreFargas

    Wanting to be jerry rice and actually doing it are two different things , I compare him to dudley be cause how many time would dudley just burn by his guy and get wide open and bam right of the hands , if you are struggling to catch the ball in college i don’t expect you to have great hands in the pros and it’s funny good hands are something most good wr have .

  • Tommy Trojan25

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltm5OV8rTn0&feature=related

    Watch this video of Heyward -Bey from about 5:28 on.

  • KennyKing

    A comment earlier asked about what if DHB works hard like Dudley but fails like Dudley, is that good?

    There is a difference between them though. DHB has an aggressive playing style. When he takes off, he takes off flying. Dudley always came across like a “scholar” on the playing field, too much thinking and too hesitant. He seems to think all the way to the point of analyzing the ball until it hits the ground.

    Dudley also came highly rated, with a lot of expectation. Dudley never showed he had the fire, Gruden had to push him in the beginning. DHB has a fire in him, seems humble, so if he maintains his mental discipline and workman like attitude, put in the work, translate that into instinctive plays in practice and on game days, he will at least be a solid WR and may even become somewhat dominating; we all hope!

  • Crow

    # 504 Raider Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Crow,

    Comparing the blazing speed and running go routes all day. OK would you rather me say Alvin Harper who did major damage for the Cowboys back in the day but the triplets got all the credit.

    ——-

    Try Ashley Lelie. DHB is nothing like Moss.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Will never have, I can’t type. I need some R & R.

  • NoMoreFargas

    OH well at least the mitchell pick will have me dreaming of a secondary of johnson,nhamdi,branch,mitchell.

    GO RAIDERS!!!!!!!

  • Crow

    # Raider O Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Crow,

    Both are top 10 talent at their positions.

    By the way bro,

    Sometimes, less can be more!

    ————-

    Top 10 by whose rankings?

    Michael Johnson has huge athletic ability, but he’s a sloth. Utterly useless human being.

  • lefty12

    where was it said DHB struggled to catch the ball.the ball wasn’t thrown his way very often.his college QB was a total bum.

  • raiderrej
  • NoMoreFargas

    Bey,Chaz,Jlh,Shields so can we get rid of walker now.

  • http://atm Raider O

    I knew I forgot someone, Mitch king.

  • priesttj

    Raider O, it’s the day of the draft and we’re writing players off and putting others in the HOF.

    Let’s at least let them suit up first. Hell Rickey Brown was an UDFA and he’s our starting SLB.

    Let’s just all relax a bit. I for one have never seen DHB play I just wanted what I wanted and they didn’t give it to me and I got pissed. For me to attack DHB and Al Davis was wrong, I haven’t seen him play.

    So I’m putting everthing back in just perspective.

  • raiderrej

    DHB is rated -9 vs Crabtree in Madden

  • Crow

    # 504 Raider Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    There was one Raider who was interviewed this week and asked his thoughts on the draft and what we should do. And I do believe that Nnamdi is a happy guy today.

    Don’t know about you guys but I’m happy about the picks and will defend them. Me and nobody on here is getting paid to make evaluations on players and know how to decide who to get. We like guys based on heresay and some dimwits mock draftboard. I gotta go with the guys who get paid to do this stuff.

    ————–

    “The guys who get paid to do this stuff” wouldn’t have drafted DHB #7 overall. That was all Al. Not a Raider scout. Not a Raider coach. Just Al and his god damn stopwatch.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Crow,

    Most draft Boards.

    You sure like to argue. lol

    Do some research, and let me know what you think.

  • Chris in NY

    As long as we get Johnson, Robinson or Brinkley I’ll be psyched going forward.

  • priesttj

    NMF, you keep saying he can’t catch, have you seen him play? Or were you there when the Raiders worked him out?

    It’s all hearsay, he was rated as a 1st rnd pick why?

  • fijiraider

    DHB is a good pick since the raiders are a run oriented team so no WR is going to put up big numbers next season. MM will surprise alot of people.

  • alisgod

    Raider O,

    The draft of Mitchell exposed 2 things.

    1. Some of us knew Mitchell much better than Mayock and Kiper.
    2. I keep on hearing how he’s not on the other pundits draft guide and it shows that they dont know each team’s scout as intimately as we do. Moreover, they read draft guides and pretend to know a whole lot. How can you not know a guy that was invited in by 15 teams?

  • lefty12

    i remember when he torched Cal last year.put on a pretty good show.

  • http://atm Raider O

    BHP,

    I’m too high on Mitchell, but I never said DHB will be great!!!
    You said he will never have Elite hands, and I said Rice had a lot of drops his rookie year, and had problems dropping the ball his rookie season.

    So,

    Maybe DHB will have elite hands, and I agree. You also need to take your own advise, and don’t give up on his hands. He’s young and he can work on it like Rice did.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Alisgod,

    Exactly, well said.

  • Raider Dell

    I appreciate all the positive and negative points from all of you that participated on the blog today and this evening.

    No matter who you wanted we have to get behind Bey and Mitchell.

    I know going to the games or watching them on TV I will still be a Raider Man and be there for this team.

    I’m not going to burn any of the clothes or hats or give them away, I will still wear them and always be proud.

    Tomorow is a new day, and the raiders may draft some guys to complete the desires of the teams needs, until then we all just need to give it all a chance to work through and see what happens.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    The most depressing draft I can remember in 40+ yrs

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    # priesttj Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    NMF, you keep saying he can’t catch, have you seen him play? Or were you there when the Raiders worked him out?

    It’s all hearsay, he was rated as a 1st rnd pick why?

    Then why do all the experts say that he could have been picked in the 2nd round by the faders :?:

  • Raider Dell

    Chris in NY

    Man it’s late there, more power to you for hangin out in here tonight.

    My comment to you is what happen to Rey?

  • raiderrej

    madden 10 ratings is BS!!!

    it has harvin and DHB equall in speed but harvin is better overall!!!

    http://maddennfl.easports.com/draftpicks.action

  • NoMoreFargas

    I’ve seen film on dhb and his scouting report is he has trouble with his hands, I am doubtful but will give him his chance, come on priest this is al davis you know as well as i do he loves speed and size and when dhb ran that 4.27 he was destined for the Raiders I just hope he works out how many guy who don’t put up big numbers in college put them up in the pro’s .

  • 1960AutumnWind

    KK

    Come on… Remember when we drafted Seabass with the 17th overall pick…. I don’t think this is that bad. We reached about 10 slots for DHB other than that we got 2 mid rounders and may have gotten our new SS…

  • priesttj

    Raider O, you’re right when you have the drive and will to go with the talent he has the sky is the limit.

    I remember when Branch came in he couldn’t catch a cold. Later he had very reliable hands with work and desire. DHB is a very interesting talent I would lve t see soem film on him.

    Left12, hw much of DHB did you see? and what was your impression?

  • http://atm Raider O

    Guys,

    Look at our Offense now,

    If our O line is good with Mario, Gallery, Satele, Cooper, and Barnes.

    Then:

    We have Bush and Dmc, and both can run well.
    When teams gave the box full, we can go deep and keep them honest.

    Look for more production out of Miller and our Backs.

    I love the pick but not at 7th, and not over Monroe.

    But I do like the pick for the reason above.

    JR has a lot of Targets, does be have an Oline?!

    I think so. IMHO

  • lefty12

    KK-wasn’t it you who said if we wanted Mack we should get him regardless of how he was rated on others draft boards.well,isn’t this the same thing?the Raiders had Bey as the top WR and went and got him.

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    buttholeprick :mrgreen: I was at CU when Branch played. 8) He COULD catch a cold :lol: With everyone you blo you should be afraid of what you might catch :lol: