Lions Rookie ‘Feeling Really Good’ Coming off Major Injury

James Mitchell

Getty James Mitchell playing for Virginia Tech in 2019.

The Detroit Lions have seen some players sidelined as they have gotten camp going, but one player has been back in the mix in tight end James Mitchell.

Mitchell, sidelined with an ACL injury since last year, has been able to get things going in camp, and thus far, it sounds as if he has taken well to the work.

Speaking to the media on Friday, August 5, Mitchell discussed his recovery, and said he is in a good place heading toward the season and the knee is feeling better.


AJ Parker, James Mitchell, Trinity Benson, and Tom Kennedy meet the media at Lions Training CampWatch Detroit Lions cornerback AJ Parker, tight end James Mitchell, wide receiver Trinity Benson, and wide receiver Tom Kennedy speak to the media on August 5, 2022 at Detroit Lions Training Camp presented by Rocket Mortgage. 00:00 – 5:25: CB AJ Parker 5:26 – 9:52: TE James Mitchell 9:53 – 14:37: WR Trinity Benson 14:38…2022-08-05T19:54:44Z

“Feeling really good. The trainers have been great, we busted our butts over the summer trying to get to this point and knee’s feeling good and getting better day by day,” Mitchell explained.

While he was sidelined during OTA sessions, Mitchell has been able to come back off the mat and get to the point where he can get some reps in. As he said, that will go up as he proves he can handle the rigors on the field.

“Just kind of what we’ve been doing just sneaking down little team reps here and there and then just keep building off of that as long as there’s no problems, which there hasn’t been. We’ll keep adding stuff in and continuing to do rehab on the side as well,” he said.

While he might not know if he will play a major role in terms of game readiness, Mitchell has a prediction for his future with the team.

“I know if they call me to be in there I’ll be ready,” Mitchell said.

Just the kind of mindset a new-look Lions offense will want to see.


Mitchell Already Making Plays With Lions

It’s become clear that Mitchell is the kind of weapon that the Lions could depend on in a big way this season given their need for production at tight end opposite T.J. Hockenson.

Already, Mitchell is making his presence felt in camp with the nice plays. Late in the week on Thursday, August 4, Mitchell made a great catch in the end zone for a score which the Lions showed off:

Mitchell could be the kind of player who could do some bigger things in the passing game for the Lions given the tight end spot. He will compete with Brock Wright and Garrett Griffin for reps along with Shane Zylstra in camp, and could offer more as a pass catcher than a few of those players.

Whether it’s enough to make a big impact quickly in the leahgue remains to be seen.


Mitchell’s College Stats & Highlights

A sneaky need for Detroit this offseason was at tight end, which is why Mitchell made plenty of sense for the team in the middle rounds of the draft.

It was not a surprise to see Detroit avoid the tight end spot early, but in waiting until the fifth-round range, Mitchell makes a lot of sense as a steal. The former basketball player is a pass catcher and can get down the field and make big plays. Mitchell hasn’t been wildly productive with just 7 touchdowns and 838 yards in his career, but has the kind of body for the league.

Outside of the ACL injury, he could have caught more attention in 2021-22. Here’s a look at what he has done:


James Mitchell NFL Draft Tape | Virginia Tech TEVirginia Tech tight end James Mitchell has shined when given opportunities during his career at Virginia Tech. Despite losing most of the 2021 season due to injury, Mitchell finished his career in Blacksburg with 52 catches for 838 yards and 7 touchdowns. During his time at Virginia Tech, Mitchell proved to be extremely versatile, showing…2022-04-11T17:39:48Z

Early on, Mitchell seems to be bringing the right intangibles for Detroit, and is looking better by the day off injury.

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