Camp questions: How good is Mike Mitchell?


With reporting day less than two weeks away, the fifth in a series of questions and issues to be sorted out in Napa:

How good is Mike Mitchell, and where does he fit in?

In some circles, the second-round selection of Mitchell, was considered the biggest reach of the 2009 draft. Draft analysts such as Mike Mayock and Mel Kiper were stumped. Mayock admitted he knew little about the Ohio University safety. Kiper had him a seventh-round pick or signing as an undrafted free agent.

It’s known the Chicago Bears had placed a phone call to Mitchell before the Raiders stunned everyone with the selection, but still know one knows if the Raiders reached or were simply on to something with the rest of the league asleep at the wheel.

Mitchell showed some promise late in the season, but conceded in November his development was stunted by hamstring problems which made him a bystander in training camp.

“If you could look at my college tape, and then look at how I was running around earlier in the year and at training camp and in practice, that’s not even the same football player,” Mitchell said.

The Raiders utilized Mitchell in packages where he could play in the box, be a hitter and make the kind of hits that made him a Youtube sensation even if NFL scouts were oblivious.

Mitchell has made good on a promise to spend much of his offseason at the Raiders facility working out, and presumably the athletic training staff has made sure his hamstring issues are a thing of the past.

That means there could be more than a few scuffles during contact drills _ Mitchell missed most of camp but did get in one memorable scrape with Louis Murphy last year in Napa. In the best case scenario, Mitchell helps elevate practice intensity and brings an enforcer’s mentality to the secondary.

Still be determined is how best to use Mitchell. He said he played everywhere at Ohio, but his hitting ability and physicality would appear to far outweigh his ball and coverage skills. He is similar in skill to Tyvon Branch, the fourth-round pick a year earlier who led all NFL safeties in tackles (admittedly in large part because of the failures of the front seven). Branch is considered by the coaching staff to be a potential star.

The Raiders have long played a single deep safety _ it’s an Al Davis staple _ and Branch and Mitchell operate better closer to the line of scrimmage.

Mitchell is part of equation along with an new linebacking corps to make the Oakland defense more stout against the run and more physical.

Exactly how creative the coaching staff will be to get him on the field and make him effective will play out in Napa.

Previous camp questions:

Can Mario be super?

Can Higgins return to ’08 form?

Where is Seymour’s ripple effect?

Can Bush be a beast?


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • SaintKaufman

    Guess I’ll take my feeble minded, wannabe, elitist, sad loser ass to bed.


  • hendu

    Reading some recent posts, this rog guy was not Br-ien,my opinion!B=rie-n is smarter and much more clever and in youre face than this fool! Raiders!!!!!!! out

  • bigd2010

    splitting hairs and missed spelled words.

  • AussieRaiderRosco

    Living in Australia, don’t get to see my beloved Raiders too often. Have found the posts on this site hilarious and fascinating for years, finally decided to get involved. I’m scared MM might be the 2000’s version of Eddie Anderson – big hits but a bit of a coverage liability. Still think Huff might be better suited to slot coverage as the 3rd CB but Branch and MM are too similar to play together. I miss Rod Woodson!

  • AussieRaiderRosco

    just realised the time difference put this as a 4.30am post in the US – guessing there won’t be much follow up posts! Hope you’re all getting a good night’s sleep dreaming of Raiders wins!

  • RaiderRockstar

    looking for a fantasy football league to join ??

    Go to yahoo fantasy football and do the following.

    League is: OaklandRaiderFansOnly
    League Number is #162070
    Live draft: September 4, 2010 10:00AM PST

    password: aldavis (one word. lower caps)

  • AussieRaiderRosco

    cheers mate, i’ll get onto it tomorrow.
    Good on ya

    – at least i won’t have to draft JaWalrus out of obligation this year!

  • AussieRaiderRosco

    in my last post before i get some sleep before work tomorrow can i throw this out there – most impressive defensive players from the last 15-20 or so years:

    1 – Howie Long
    2 – Nnamdi Awesome-wah
    3 – Chester McGlockton (i loved the big guy, i know it was short lived but he was quality)
    4 – Greg Townsend (proud owner of a signed photo!)
    5a – Terry McDaniel
    5b – Charles Woodson

    thoughts? i’ve rushed this so i know i’ll be really mad at some shocking omissions (almost threw James Trapp in there to mess with ya).
    Cheers RaiderNation, catch ya tomorrow

  • RaiderRockstar

    cheers mate, i’ll get onto it tomorrow.
    Good on ya

    – at least i won’t have to draft JaWalrus out of obligation this year!


    thanks Aussie!

    no kidding re: JaWalrus … haha

  • # SaintKaufman Says:
    July 17th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Guess I’ll take my feeble minded, wannabe, elitist, sad loser ass to bed.



    I never said you were an elitist. I said you idolize them. Calling you an elitist would be like calling a bum greedy.

  • And, SaintKaufman and Bri en, still awaiting your guys proof that most college students “get hammmered”. I’d like to know which college functions with 50% or more of their student body being alcoholics. Wonder what the graduation rate is. Are we sure we’re not getting our view of college life from 80s movies? You guys are Raider fans, after all, who aren’t known for using reality to form opinions. Anyhow, I’m awaiting the stats.

    For anyone who wants to know what this is about, I was criticizing an article where a writer said “most” college students drink, to justify Joe Montana’s son getting arrested for underage drinking. I feel it’s irresponsible journalism, and another sports writer feebly protecting a sporting god’s son. Br ien and Saint Kaufman insist it’s accurate reporting. Funny, because a writer who defends Joe Montana is likely to write an article tomorrow talking about how retarded Raider fans are. Perhaps their taking this position to disagree with me for the sake of disagreeing with a known Davis critic? Talk about painting themselves into a corner.

  • Rockstar

    About that fantasy league, you say the draft is saturday september 4th in the morning…but it says friady september 3rd, 9pm et time on the actual page …which one is it? … saturday morning would be great..

  • Just Fire Baby

    Guarantee Chico State “functioned” with a population over 50% that got plastered at least twice a week.

    They had to purposely put spring break during the week of St. Patricks day, because no one went to school that day, and just walked around town smashed, starting at 6am.

    The point is, the article said the majority of college students, implying most students go out and drink on a Friday night. Not go through the whole year drunk like Animal House, just party it up on Friday night. If it’s not the majority, it is pretty damn close.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Nationwide studies, found a long link, put it around 41-47% that are binge drinkers.

  • —“Eagles fourth-round QB Mike Kafka is “bright enough and skilled enough” to be Kevin Kolb’s backup in the near future, according to Mark Eckel of the Trenton Times. Kafka is currently the No. 3 quarterback, but he get a promotion at any moment with backup Michael Vick’s future still in some doubt. Although Kafka is well-suited to running the tradition West Coast offense, that probably scares the Eagles. We suspect the Eagles would look for a veteran backup if Vick ends up gone”—

    we royally effed up on this one…

  • BigTed707

    Morning Nation!
    How’s dem’ Oakland Football Raiders?

    RMR – spend a weekend in Santa Barbara – Kegs on the sidewalks mon.

    Montana’s kids are little spoiled punks tho’, and I agree that journalists can be irresponsible, but saying college kids drink is like saying grass is green.

  • btw..

    “but still know one knows if the Raiders reached” is one great line =) LOL

  • Missile Mitchell will show everyone this season why he was drafted in the 2nd RD!!

    Mitchell can cover, but he is better at playing next to the LOS at this point since he is still learning. Ty Branch played CB at college, and he still had problems in coverage last season, which was his 2nd!!
    Branch & Mitchell @ S!!!!

  • Huff reminds me of Sir Charles, but Charles was a better tackler. Huff played CB & S @ Texas, and he has the speed and ability to cover most NFL WRs and all TEs. We should use him all over the field as a CB, FS, NB, but not SS.
    I like what Huff said, and I think he has a good idea. Nnamdi, Huff, Branch, and “Mitchy” In the Secondary will be hard to deal with. Size, Speed, and 2 of the best cover DBs in the game (Nnamdi & Huff). Branch can cover & tackle, and “Mitchy” is a head hunter! We can also use CJ when we need more speed on the field, and Huff can play FS or NB.

    Make it Happen Al!!!

  • Our front 7 should be able to create more opportunities for our DBs to make plays. Wimbley & Scott can tackle and Rush the Passer, and TH is one if the best cover LBs in the game, and He has great hands for a LB (he played SS @ UTEP). McClain is a Rookie, but he is still an upgrade at that position (sorry Kirk, Go Aztecs!!).
    Our DL will should be able to rush the passer and stop the run with Seymour, Henderson, TK, Bryant, Matt S, Houston, Jay Richardson, and Scott/ Groves/ Wimbley as DEs 3rd & long.

    Great Defense!!!!!!!!

  • TH is one of…*
    Our DL should be….*

    Later Nation!

  • RaiderRockstar

    About that fantasy league, you say the draft is saturday september 4th in the morning…but it says friady september 3rd, 9pm et time on the actual page …which one is it? … saturday morning would be great..


    Marley: thanks for joining!

    Draft is 10am Saturday (12pm my time – central)

    sorry for the confusion, it has been updated 🙂

  • Rockstar

    Thank you for the invite, left you a note on the message board …

    Let me know what you think, have a good sunday people.

  • ohioraider

    # Glutten for Punishment Says:
    July 17th, 2010 at 10:08 am

    i hope our D will be f-ing RAD! i want them to punish teams. thats what football is all about to me. i dont care if they lose the game as long as someone on the other side got knocked the F out!

    You’re an idiot.