Mike Mitchell Q&A


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.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • BHP,

    I agree, I want to watch tape on DHB.

    What system they ran?
    Did they have a QB, or RB?
    Was he the only weapon on offense?
    Did they have a TE, or another WR?
    Did he drop catchable passes?
    Was he double teamed a lot?

    You have to look at all these things, let me know what you see pls BHP.

  • lefty12

    Priest,the only game i saw him play was against Cal.in that game he was great.i remember wondering who was this guy who kept burning Cals DBs.he left a hugh positive impression.Cal couldn’t stop him.caught everything thrown his way and was always open-a man against boys if you will.

  • nader64

    this is the best DHB footage I’ve seen yet. As he says, go to 5:28

    Tommy Trojan25 Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 10:44 pm

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

  • priesttj

    NMF. a lot of guy’s put up big #’s after college when they had average #’s college. That’s not as rare as you might think. Scheme or opportunity makes a big difference. Roger Craig didn’t do much in college neither did Terrell Davis. It happens more than you think.

    DHB’s #’s are very average but he could very well develope in the pros. It wouldn’t shock me.

  • NoMoreFargas

    I agree priest but i said wr jerry rice was huge at mvs, moss killed at marshall, fitz was the man at pitt but I agree with you that the pro game is much different than the college game and with his size and speed he could be dangerous just hope he can catch the ball.

    GO RAIDERS!!!!

  • NoMoreFargas

    Oh well I’m off to drink priest, raider o,lefty ,nader later and lets kick a little azz this year!

  • lefty12

    i too was pod when they announced Bey as our pick,especially with Monroe on the board.but,the more i think about it,the more i like it.it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he didn’t turn out to be the best WR of the draft-at least better than Craptree and Maclin.

  • priesttj

    we all do nmf, as i said i’ve never seen him play.

  • raiderrej

    lefty12 Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 11:14 pm
    Priest,the only game i saw him play was against Cal.in that game he was great.i remember wondering who was this guy who kept burning Cals DBs.he left a hugh positive impression.Cal couldn’t stop him.caught everything thrown his way and was always open-a man against boys if you will.

    DHB stats that day, 2 catches 59 yrds and 1 TD??? what is great about that?

  • alisgod

    Wow pretty good tube of Bey. He has to wait on a lot of his balls and when he gets an opening, he is gone. Reminds me of Kaufman when he has the ball in his hands. It’s a huge gamble and I hope it works out.

  • priesttj

    Left12, I’m having that same reaction. I guess it was the shock of it. Now that I’ve given it some thought I totally understand what they’re thinking and it makes sense. If this all comes together like they want it to……….WOW!

  • lefty12

    sorry-i thought it was the Cal game.i stand corrected-thanks Raiderrej.now i’m not sure what game it was,but i did see him and he was a beast.

  • raiderrej

    i wish the best of luck and stay optimistic but DHB is not worth #7. throughout his career at maryland he’s gone with a reception, atleast twice last year!!! not very productive for a #7 pick gamble.

  • raiderrej

    does anyone know if training camp is open to the public?

  • priesttj

    Raiderrej, what’s your opinion of him? I’ve read that stat and wonder was the defense loaded against him or what?

    Stats can say anything. The game plan may have been to run. anything. When I see that stat it says more about the coaching staff to me.

  • lefty12

    the point isn’t if he was worth a 7th -the point is he was the WR the Raiders wanted and to get him they HAD to take him at 7 or lose him.so actually as far as the Raiders are concerned,he was worth a 7.you can’t get recp’t. if they don’t throw you the ball.

  • EMRaiders

    Wow. What a draft so far… but as shocked as I am, I am also intrigued.
    I have heard of Mike Mitchell recently before the draft, and now after watching some highlights, and considering that highlights are supposed to make you look good, my impression of him besides the obvious hard hitting, is that he reads, and adapts pretty good to the play. You can see him read a play and once he gets a read, he commits to it. The only thing is that sometimes he will get a bad read, but this is when his improvising kicks in and he seems to adapt to the pretty good.
    He also seems to have good timing arriving to the ball. Breaking up plays.
    I’m starting to think this will be one of those picks that people will look back on and say, that gamble paid off.

    DHB is more of a question mark to me. Who cares if he can run pass safeties if he can’t catch the ball when it hits his hands. And as hard as JR throws the ball, this could be a problem. However, I do think he will do better than most might think. Is he going to be the next Jerry Rice? I don’t think so, but he might give us a few things to cheer about. Interesting to see how he does in practice against Nnamdi.
    If he makes a few plays on him, or is able to run pass him, than we might have something here.

    On a separate note, notice how both guys mentioned God? We might’ve given character a lot more value this year.

  • raiderrej

    maybe im just bummed about it being #7 but I feel has a lot of upside. he did play in a run oriented offense and he has a lot of upside… ive heard cable compare him to moss, because moss ran 4.25 and DHB 4.27 but other than that their isnt any thing comparable…

    moss left Marshall with 168 receptions for 3,467 yards and a school record 53 touchdowns.

    and well DHB left with 138 catches, 2,089 yards and 13 TD’s. numbers dont lie!

  • lefty12

    i’m out for the night-getting rummy.here’s to a good day tomorrow.night all.
    Raj-no,training camp isn’t open to the public-at least it never has been before.

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    buttholeprick :mrgreen: you really have a high opinion of yourself 8) Too bad that you’re not all that :mregreen:

  • priesttj

    Left12 that’s my point the fact that scouts still rated him so highly with those stats tells me they know he wasn’t at fault.

    Like Cable said if he had been in Crabtree’s offense he would’ve caught 50 TD”s……..what does that tell you? and then they passed on Crabtree to get him.
    So it’s not like they’re spewing sour grapes they could’ve drafted Crabtree if they thought he was better.

    And when you realize that this kid must be something special because they passed on 4 very talented players. They might be wrong but they’re not lying the Raiders had DHB rated very high and wanted him badly.

  • raiderrej

    Lefty12 Says:
    April 25th, 2009 at 11:32 pm
    the point isn’t if he was worth a 7th -the point is he was the WR the Raiders wanted and to get him they HAD to take him at 7 or lose him.so actually as far as the Raiders are concerned,he was worth a 7.you can’t get recp’t. if they don’t throw you the ball.


    that i understand… its the heartache that comes with the losing and poor front office moves that linger. kinda like your first girlfriend that cheated on you and it always stays in the back of your mind… but you stick with her cause she’s… well your 1st. in this case #7

  • lefty12


  • raiderrej

    yeah… thanks LOL… lets hope we have a good one tomorrow

  • Trolls 35 Raiders 0

    :mrgreen: you’re such a loser 🙄

  • Good Night NMF, sorry I was watching clips of DHB.

  • priesttj

    nite all. it’ll be a long day tomorrow

  • E Turner29

    I just really think we needed to address the O line.

    After the Harris saga last year, i have lost a bit of faith in Cable’s OT free agent prospects. OT was a much bigger need then WR.

    I am not sold on Henderson’s ability.

  • Good Night Lefty.

  • Meredith is still available.

  • EMRaiders

    One thing is for sure. Al is taking huge gambles on these picks. Too bad the NFL doesn’t comp you for gambles like these…lol

    Al is a High Roller.

  • Tommy Trojan25

    Here are some of the top options for sunday who I like…

    If we don’t trade up for Michael Johnson then we wont get him, he’ll go to the Lions, Rams, or Chiefs, so let’s hope he goes to the Lions or Rams if we don’t trade up.

    Duke Robinson would be a good pick if he’s still there because then we’d have a ready replacement for Carlisle and some real quality depth on the inside, which is particularly important for a running team.

    Gilbert would be a great option to compete/rotate on the right side with Scott, hopefully with Kelly moving to the left DE spot if Burgess is traded.

    Ricky Jean-Francois is one of my favorite defensive lineman and reminds me a lot of Tommy Kelly in that he can be effective as a base DE or as a 3-technique. He may even have room to add weight and play full time inside. I like this guy a lot.

    Alex Magee is a player I like if Burgess is traded and kelly moves back to DE, or if Kelly bulks up and moves to nose, with Magee potentially playing the 3 spot. This is a high motor guy on the inside, that’s important.

    Sidbury is the kind of athletic, aggressive, high motor prototype pass rusher that could replace burgess or offer serious competition on the right side. This is a guy I like a lot, regardless of where he is drafted.

    Brinkley is a Raider, plain and simple. He’s the prototype throwback, run stopping MLB, drafting him would allow Morrison to move back outside where he looks like a more natural fit. He can see less time on run downsand play more signifcantly on passing downs as he is a more fluid athlete and solid tackler than aggressive block shedder. Brinkley is a beast.

    Frantz Joseph is another LB I really like who could be a late round option. Watch some film on the guy.

    Dorell Scott also has potential as a gap plugging DT, he’s another guy to look out for.

    Kyle Moore and Kaluka Maiava are some USC starters who would have been stars at most programs around the nation. Moore has potential as a left side base end while Maiava could offer some real competition at SAM and be a special teams stud.

    Maurice Evans is a late round flier option at DE who could explode, watch out for him.

  • DTs:I like Baker, Magee, T Taylor, Khalif Mitchell, and Dorell Scott a lot.

    DEs I also like Jarron Gilbert, M Johnson, Sidbury, and Clinton McD.

    For LBs: I like JB, Marcus Freeman, J Williams, Z Follett, Russell Allen and Ty Sales.

    OT: I like Metedith.

    Chris Baker:
    6’2 320
    Ran a 4.9 40.

    He reminds me of D Russell as far as talent, size, and speed.

  • EMRaider, Al is not a high roller. If a guy goes to a ca-sino and loses his shirt every time he walks in, is he a high roller? No. He’s a loser. That’s what Al is.

  • I also like OT Troy Kropog, he is a good fit at the ZBS.

    We can fix all of our needs this draft, we added 2 more picks.
    People say that wasn’t a good trade!!!
    Move back 7 spots and pick 2 more picks, we got the best out of that deal.

  • Keep going Al, make this draft a great one.

  • I think we will draft Meredith, Troy Kropog, or M Johnson a lot in the 3rd.

    A LOT

    Both OTs are great for the ZBS, and both are available.

    Al had a plan, trust me.

    Our draft is starting to shape up, let’s see what we do tomorrow.

  • Good night Nation.

    Tomorrow can me a great day, and don’t give up.

    R8, and others,

    This can be a great draft, I can feel it.

  • I amost forgot,

    It’s not too Crazy to draft a MLB now like say JB, he can play 2 downs, and come out on passind downs so we can have kirk and TH there. Just a thought.

    Later Nation.

  • Nnamdi21

    Value = Performance

    Have to wait and see but I like that they are going to pursue the no designation safety.

    Ryan mentioned this a year or two ago saying teams on offense could read the D set if they went in motion and adjust accordingly.

    Oaklands D mind set with safeties is theirs your half, heres mine.

    No strong, no free.

    Maybe, just maybe they ‘ve got the guys to do it right.

  • Babylonian

    Let’s see… all of you that claim to be Raiders fans seem to have more disgust for OUR team than I do for the patriots. Why don’t you all go buy yourselves brady jerseys? And buy your kids moss jerseys while you’re at that. No wonder the analysts dump on Oakland, when you supposed “fans” do. We’re better off without you.

    And consiidering WE had a better draft than all the other AFC West teams WE should be ecstatic. Notice how the broncos have 7 rbs now?

    Now look at OUR draft. DHB fits what WE want to do. You want crabtree so bad then play the lottery, win it five times and buy a team and get him. Quit your crying and 49er fans might be happy now but here’s a funfact.

    Crabtree is second in conference history with 41 tds, right? That’s why everyone loves him, right? Well in 2004 the 49ers drafted, in the first round, a WR by the name of Rashaun Woods who happens to hold the all-time conference record with 42 td catches.
    DHB will be better than crabtree because playing the best CB in the league can make playing against other CBs like a cakewalk.

    By the way did you see crabtrees little suit? Silver suit, he wanted to be a Raider but thought he might get taken by the seahawks so he took on the silver. What a poser. At least Jamarcus wore the right color.

    And you same crybabies who are whining over Huff now have a problem when WE get a safety? Wtf is wrong with you? We got a SLB, part of a team who made sanchez and company look second rate. We got DE to help the pass rush and excuse me if WE didn’t trade up for Johnson, who knew what marvin lewis was thinking outside of rey mauluga?

    Al Davis is a genius. As long as he doesn’t choose who everyone else wants instead of who he wants like say when he let callahan take Gallery when Al obviously wanted Sean Taylor. So bite your tongues you doubters.
    As with every diehard Raider fan will agree with me… WE will win the SUPERBOWL this year.

  • RaiderDane

    This is a solid player screw mel kiper