So far the most news Mike Mitchell has made in his three years as a Raider occurred the day he was drafted. When Al Davis sent in the off-the-radar pick that brought draft coverage to a halt you figured this story would end one of two ways. Either Mitchell would prove all the doubters wrong and become a stud safety or he’d fade into oblivion, lost in the shuffle that is pro football.
Nobody really thought of the third option – absolute mediocrity.
Mitchell has started just 7 games in three years four of which occurred in 2011. For all we know last year could have been the big breakout we’ve been waiting for from Mitchell. Nagging injuries put a real damper on his season however as he again struggled to find a role.
We’ve seen some good from Mitchell. He’s versatile enough to play both safety positions and cover slot receivers as a nickel corner. His hard hitting style of play has also been effective as he’s almost always around the ball.
We’ve also seen the bad of Mitchell. At times he sells out for the big hit instead of playing it simple by making a form tackle. There’s also nothing definitive about his game that makes Mitchell much more than a role player.
2012 is the make or break season for the former Ohio Bobcat. Reggie McKenzie’s eye is looking over every inch of the franchise and another subpar year from Mitchell will likely end his silver and black career. There were rumors that the Raiders were ready to part with him before last season began.
Each season Mitchell has been a Raider only one name has been written in ink as far as safeties go. That would be Tyvon Branch. So it’s not like Mitchell hasn’t had his opportunities. He’s either not been healthy enough or not played well enough on a consistent basis to find full-time work. Maybe Dennis Allen will finally get the most of Mitchell but it’s time for this fan favorite to be more than a cult hero.