Every summer a couple of unknown Burgundy and Gold players - think Colt Brennan, Brandon Banks and yes, Babe Laufenberg - seize opportunity and turn heads during training camp and preseason. With the Redskins starting camp at the end of July, now is a good time to predict who those players will be this time.
Name: Tevin Mitchel
Hometown: Mansfield, Texas
Height and weight: 6’0”, 190 pounds
Acquired: May 2, 2015. Selected by team in sixth round (pick 182) of 2015 NFL Draft
College stats: Played 4 years and 43 games for the Razorbacks…Picked off 4 passes and knocked away 19 others, forced two fumbles, recovered one fumble, and tallied 157 total tackles over his career. Here’s a highlight tape.
What he’s up against: There are eight cornerbacks on the Redskins roster currently: Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland, David Amerson, Tajh Hasson, Justin Rogers, Trey Wolfe and Mitchel. Of those eight, four guys are essentially guaranteed roster spots: Culliver, Breeland, Amerson and Hall, who is still going through a tricky recovery from an Achilles injury.
Therefore, Hasson, Rogers, Wolfe and Mitchel are all probably competing for just one spot. The last two years, Washington has gone into Week 1 with five corners on the 53-man roster.
Can he do it?: Absolutely. The past few seasons, Redskin cornerbacks have been as reliable on defense as Pepco is at providing electricity during winter storms. While not a ball hawk by any means - four picks in four years at school isn’t very exciting -, Mitchel is a versatile defender. He can play slot corner -- an area the team has been especially weak in the past few years -- and is likely to help on special teams as well.
Rogers, a four-year pro, and Wolfe, who was signed to Washington’s practice squad last year, are his main competition for that fifth corner job, but Mitchel has at least one advantage: New GM Scot McCloughan went out of his way to pick him in the draft. If the race with Rogers and Wolfe ends up being close at the end of the preseason, that very well could be the tiebreaker.
Prediction: Mitchel makes the cut.
Where I see Mitchel really making a mark in the preseason is on special teams, a unit that Washington badly needs to improve. There also could be a chance for him to play with the second or first-team defense in the exhibition games, considering Hall is still rehabbing and may not want to play much in the contests. Overall, I expect Mitchel to show out in both aspects, endearing himself to coaches and fans alike with his ability to do a little bit of everything.
In the regular season, he probably won’t get much playing time on defense, but his versatility makes him a nice addition, as he’ll be able to fill in on either the outside or inside if injuries to the Redskins’ top four corners happen. In fact, Gruden already remarked that Mitchel has been “playing two or three different positions” and has been “very impressive and has been “very impressive,” so he’s off to a good start.
In another month or so, I bet Redskins fans will be echoing that sentiment, and be much more used to hearing Mitchel’s name.