Perhaps you’ve seen those commercials for Dos Equis beer that feature The Most Interesting Man in the World. Think of the music for those ads and read the following paragraph…
An NFL head coach has compared him to Jack Tautm and Ronnie Lott. When his name was announced in the second round of the draft, it caused more of a commotion than the selection the Oakland Raiders made in the first round. If you think Darrius Heyward-Bey was the biggest surprise of day one, then you most also think that Godfather III is the best film Francis Ford Coppola ever directed. He is…the most infamous man in the 2009 NFL draft…
Michael Mitchell is the name that brought the live broadcasts of the draft to a halt. When the Raiders grabbed a strong safety from Ohio University with the 47th pick, a legend was born and a line was drawn.
That line that which was drawn was meant to keep Mitchell away from every wide receiver in the AFC West.
Mitchell’s highlight reel is the stuff that urban legends are made of and the reason why the people paid to evaluate talent collect checks for their services.
Simply put, the only reason why Mitchell was not on the radar of the main stream media was because they are always fishing with dynamite in shallow lagoons instead of daring to hunt big game in dangerous waters.
A total of 13 NFL teams requested a visit from Mitchell after his pro day workout in which the 6’1″, 220-pound safety ran a 4.43 second 40-yard dash, recorded a 37.5″ vertical leap and did 22 reps of 225 pounds on bench press.
The Kentucky native played his high school ball in Fort Thomas, a small blue grass town located a stone’s throw across the Ohio border, only a few miles from Cincinnati. Despite playing on a team that won the state title in 2004, Mitchell went unnoticed by the Big 10 schools and chose to play in the Mid-American Conference for former Nebraska head coach Frank Solich.
Five Ohio Bobcats made either the second or third team of the MAC and Mitchell was not one of them. His senior season was spent on a team that won only four of twelve games in 2008.
Michael Mitchell is either the football equivalent of Neon Bodeaux as played by Shaquille O’Neal in the 1994 film Blue Chips or he’s the biggest workout warrior to hit the NFL since Dan Wilkinson.
As fate would have it, Mitchell crossed paths with the ’09 draft’s workout warrior – Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo. The two potential draftees met at the Cleveland Browns’ head quarters back in April. Orako, selected 13th overall by the Washington Redskins, was visiting his seventh team. Mitchell was making his eighth of thirteen stops in route to becoming an Oakland Raider.
The word was out and Al Davis caught wind that the Chicago Bears were eyeing Mitchell with the 49th pick. Oakland had already traded back in round two after swapping picks with the New England Patriots. Head coach Tom Cable saw in Mitchell the mentality that reminded him of the Raider players of yore. A vicious hitter with a chip on his shoulder, Michael is out to prove all the doubters wrong again.
He put a hurting on Ohio State just to remind Jim Tressel what he missed in his own backyard. If his form stays true in the NFL, then Dwayne Bowe, Vincet Jackson and Brandon Marshall had better be wearing Kevlar in 2009.
There is a long road ahead before any talk of walking the path that Lott and Tatum paved can be taken seriously. Certainly, he’ll have to prove he can be an asset in pass coverage. The truth is not every receiver in the NFL will be as easy to knock flat as the talent he saw in college. But the message is clear; Tom Cable is an old school coach who likes old school players.
If Mitchell is a throw back, he’ll start his NFL career by knocking Michael Crabtree back a few weeks in time when the Raiders face their Bay Area rivals, the San Francisco 49ers, in the preseason. Michael Mitchell is poised to supply fireworks on Saturday, August 22nd, provided Tom Cable picks up his tab when the commissioner’s office sends a bill for the damage he inflicts.
Topics: Al Davis, Brandon Marshall, Brian Orakpo, Dan Wilkinson, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Dwayne Bowe, Francis Ford Coppola, Frank Solich, Jack Tatum, Jim Tressel, Michael Crabtree, Michael Mitchell, Ronnie Lott, Shaquille O'Neal, Tom Cable, Vincent Jackson