USF LB Mitchell Visits Bucs

April 7 - University of South Florida linebacker Kawika Mitchell visited the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday. The Bucs have become increasingly intrigued with Mitchell ever since he awed linebackers coach Joe Barry and several other NFL scouts with his display of athleticism at his Pro Day workout a few weeks ago. ALSO: The Bucs will also entertain another college linebacker in the coming days.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought draft prospect Kawika Mitchell in for a visit Monday, and the University of South Florida linebacker certainly didn't have to travel far to get to One Buccaneer Place.

Mitchell spent four years playing linebacker for the USF Bulls, who share Raymond James Stadium with the Buccaneers. Mitchell played at the middle linebacker spot his senior year and led the Bulls in tackles with 117. Mitchell was voted the Bulls' Defensive MVP and he set a school record for career tackles with 367.

The 6-foot-1, 250-pound linebacker is known for his run-stuffing ability and recorded 19 tackles for a loss last season. He was first projected to get drafted in the later rounds, but his stock has since went up after he awed NFL scouts with his display of athleticism at the Combine and his Pro Day workout.

Mitchell had a 40-inch vertical jump and he benched 225 pounds 28 times.

His impressive workouts have caused some draft gurus to move Mitchell up anywhere in-between the third and fifth round.

Mitchell's 250-pound frame is about 25 pounds heavier than Tampa Bay's typical linebacker mold, but his 4.62 time in the 40-yard dash has the Bucs thinking he could fit in nicely in its defensive scheme.

Bucs linebacker coach Joe Barry got a close look at Mitchell and the rest of the USF Bulls draft prospects at the team's Pro Day workout in late-March. Barry and the other coaches and scouts in attendance were said to be practically floored by Mitchell's performance, and that, along with the team's need to add depth at the linebacker position, has some thinking there's a chance the Bucs will use a draft pick to select Mitchell later this month.

"I spoke with Joe Barry briefly when he came out to the workout and they seemed to like Kawika quite a bit," said USF defensive line coach Earl Lane. "They were very impressed with a number of his skills and talents.

"I'm sure they were looking at some of our other guys, too, but I got the impression that Kawika is a guy they're going to look at very strongly."

The Buccaneers are also expected to bring in West Texas A&M linebacker Chaun Thompson for a private workout in the coming days. The 6-foot-1, 232-pound Thompson is one of the fastest linebackers in the NFL Draft, clocking a 4.53 in the 40-yard dash in post-season workouts.

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