Malcolm Mitchell was the 11th wide receiver taken in the 2016 NFL Draft, but don’t let that fool you. Yes, Mitchell lasted all the way until the Patriots’ 4th round selection at 112th overall. That shouldn’t really surprise anyone. When a wide receiver struggles to stay healthy, doesn’t put up crazy receiving numbers, & doesn’t really break out until age 22 there should be some apprehension. But…
If you aren’t a Georgia fan you probably didn’t have any idea that Malcolm Mitchell was trucking along pretty nicely in the run-heavy Georgia offense early on in his college career. After just two seasons Malcolm had accrued 95 catches for 1237 yards & 8 touchdowns. Then, of course he had to go tear his ACL to start the 2013 season. By the time Mitchell was able to come back, in October of 2014, he was second fiddle to the future NFL 3rd round pick, Chris Conley.
This past year, with Conley out of the picture, we finally got to witness what a healthy, developed Malcolm Mitchell could do. He quietly grabbed 58 catches for 865 yards and 5 touchdowns against some solid NFL-level competition in the SEC. Those aren’t the kind of numbers that blow anyone away, but in that Georgia offense, they are significant. His numbers aren’t what really impress the most. It’s how he wins against defenses.
I mentioned this before way back in March, but Malcolm Mitchell wins against any type of coverage (man, press or zone). Defenses would often underestimate him early on in the game, focusing more on stopping the formidable Georgia run game. By the time they realized their corners were struggling in man coverage against him it was too late. The only time defenses had much success stopping him was if they could throw him off course with solid press, but even then, many times he would beat them.
Malcolm doesn’t really look like your typical NFL WR1, but he still bullies defensive backs at the point of the catch. He measures fairly similar to his teammate Julian Edelman, but when trying to find a real solid comparison I landed on Santonio Holmes. Both can be burners when called upon, even though they primarily excel in the short to intermediate routes. They have the same build & athletic profiles. Plus, they even run with a similar gate and attack the ball with the same style. See for yourself with some fun Santonio & Malcolm highlights.
Redraft – The 2016 season has a high chance of being rather quiet for Malcolm Mitchell. It’s likely that he slots in behind Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola & maybe even Chris Hogan or Nate Washington until he digs in & really learns the playbook. If there is an injury or Amendola or Edelman again he’ll be the backup with the highest upside worth grabbing. As mentioned earlier, Malcolm works well in the short to intermediate parts of the field. If he does earn some snaps, look out, because Tom Brady has made his career with the dink & dunk.
Draft Stock: If Malcolm Mitchell goes before pick 140 someone in your league is a Georgia fan or plays too much dynasty (if that were possible).
Dynasty – Malcolm Mitchell seemingly sits in a tier of his own in this year’s wide receiver class. He’s viewed by many as the WR9 behind Treadwell, Doctson, Coleman, Shepard, Thomas (Saints), Carroo, Boyd, & Fuller. With Julian Edelman & Danny Amendola on the back nine of their career, Mitchell definitely has a solid opportunity to develop into the Patriots’ future by 2018. Sadly, that may be the start of life after Brady.
Draft Stock: Top 15-25 rookie pick or 140th-170th in startup dynasty drafts is common.