The New England Patriots announced the signing of free agent safety Mel Mitchell on Tuesday. Mitchell, 27, has spent his four seasons in the league playing for the New Orleans Saints as both a defender and on special teams. He becomes the third new free agent to join the Patriots from another team this off-season.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound former Western Kentucky product agreed to join the Patriots to add depth to a team that has experienced it's share of injuries to secondary in recent years. Mitchell has the size to be effective in run support, and was projected to be the starter in New Orleans before suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2003.
Mitchell has appeared in 44 games over his career, accumulating 45 tackles and one blocked punt.
|Mel Mitchell #40 of the New Orleans Saints drags down tight end John Paul Foschi #49 of the Oakland Raiders during a preseason NFL game at McAfee Coliseum on September 1, 2005 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)|
Mitchell is the second defender to join the Patriots this year. Former Kansas City Chief Eric Warfield joined the team as well, the team announced earlier this week.
Another DB On The Radar
Patriots Insider has learned that New England is not only scouting defensive back draft prospects during their pro days and flying them into Foxborough for a closer look, they are also working them out at various locations around the country.
Of the top-ranked DB prospects, Fresno State's Richard Marshall, is the name most frequently tied to the Patriots by NFL draft experts. Fresno State's head coach Pat Hill is a friend of Bill Belichick's and has worked with him previously when Hill coached in the NFL. Hill's camiliarity with Belichick and their history together make the connection a natual one.
Marshall has been projected as a first-day draft prospect, and has seen his stock rise quickly over the last few weeks. TFY Draft Preview is reporting that he is on a number of team's radar, including the Patriots. For more on where Marshall is headed next, see TFY's April 1 Team Interest Report.
New England has expressed interest in at least four top-ranked defensive back draft prospects as confirmed by Patriots Insider. It is a clear indication that Belichick and the team's personnel guru Scott Pioli are intent on improving the team's depth more than just through free agency.
More Draft prospect visits and team interest reports can be found on the Insider's forum here: Insider's Lounge
For more on where Marshall's situation, see Patriots Insider's previous report here: Patriots Draft: A New Visitor