If LeBron James fancies himself an NFL receiver, then consider Mike Mitchell among the unimpressed.
Paul Gutierrez of the Sacramento Bee caught up with Mitchell, who incidentally is getting some reps in at cornerback instead of safety (Mitchell that is, not Gutierrez. I highly doubt Paul G is suited for bump and run coverage). The former Ohio Bobcat is in the Jeremy Shockey camp when it comes to evaluating the prospects of King James in the NFL.
“Yeah, that (James) could just drop in and do it, it really is (insulting) but, you know, basketball players, they do that,” Mitchell said with a smile.
“Like I said,” Mitchell added, “he’s a great athlete, but I can’t just go and be the best shooter in the NBA so I don’t think he’s going to be able to come in here and, I mean, he can maybe be on the practice squad, but I don’t think he’s going to be an elite receiver in the league his first year.”
Mitchell has played sparingly in his rookie season. He missed most of training camp and every preseason game with a hamstring injury. Since then, he’s been involved in special teams and occasional situational play.
Still, Mitchell has made his presence felt on the field.
During the embarrassing loss to the Giants, Mitchell put a nasty hit on Brandon Jacobs that stopped the 260-pound back dead in his tracks on the goal line. He’s also made some nice open field tackles and has proven to be more of an asset in pass coverage than was anticipated.
Perhaps he’ll see more action as a corner, though even that seems unlikely given the improved play of Stanford Routt.
Here’s a little piece of advice for LeBron: if Mitchell is in the room, have your head on a swivel. Just like Jordan Crawford was eager to make a name for himself by dunking on the King, Mitchell would be equally excited to get LeBron in his sights on a crossing route.
No doubt #34 is walking around with a large chip on his shoulder ever since his selection in the ’09 draft was turned into fodder for Raider Haters everywhere. Mitchell has yet to do much to silence the laughter but he’s certainly eager to prove he’s no joke.
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