Lions’ Big Tight End Pick Didn’t Take Draft Weekend off From Workout

James Mitchell

Getty James Mitchell on the field for Virginia Tech in 2019.

James Mitchell is a grinder at tight end, so it made sense that the Detroit Lions, coached by former tight end Dan Campbell, would love what he brought to the mix.

In the process of building the Lions, Campbell and company have made character a major selling point for their roster. Nearly every player they have selected has been classified as a grinder, tough guy or someone who loves the game. it’s safe to say Mitchell fits the bill, even as a fifth-round selection.

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While many draft prospects were partying and enjoying the draft festivities, Mitchell was spotted quietly working out by acquaintance Joshua Tompkins who tweeted about it.

“Just ran into James Mitchell at Bullitt Park working out on draft day. Not surprised. That’s just who he is,” Thompkins tweeted.

Mitchell being the kind of player that skips the fanfare and just gets down to business is what the Lions will want to see. This isn’t to say that Mitchell won’t enjoy himself, but he definitely has things in the right perspective. He’s ready to come into the league and make an impact, and the only way to do that is with hard work.

Mitchell could come back healthy off an ACL injury and him doing work to continue that process bodes very well for the Lions.

ESPN Crew Lauded Lions’ Mitchell Selection

The talking heads at ESPN had a lot of positive things to say about the Mitchell addition in terms of Mel Kiper and others. While there was some question about health given an ACL injury, Kiper said on the telecast he sees the traits which make for a successful player at the spot.

“Body control excellent, speed to stress a defense vertically. Also showed promise as a blocker. More strength and consistency though could be needed in that area. Overall though, At 6-4 250, the talent’s there Coming back from the injury. When will that be for Mitchell? That’s hat pushed him down in the draft to round five when if he could have been healthy all year and showed the momentum he showed, he could have been a third-round (pick),” Kiper admitted.

Kiper wasn’t the only one who saw this, though. Louis Riddick appreciated the Mitchell pick and admitted it was probably a throwback for Campbell to add him to the mix given he likely loved the tape.

“James Mitchell to me as a blocker is a throwback. He’ll bury you now,” Riddick said.

Overall, the analysts were very high on the prospects of the Detroit draft for 2022, and the Mitchell pick didn’t hurt matters.

Mitchell’s College Stats & Highlights

A sneaky need for Detroit in this process has been tight end. It was not a surprise to see Detroit not scoop up a player early, but in waiting until this range, Mitchell makes a lot of sense as a steal. The former basketball player is a solid 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 he has the kind of body that will impress scouts. Outside of the ACL injury, he could have caught more attention in 2021-22.

Here’s a look at what he has done:

His size and abilities may mean a higher grade for Mitchell had he been healthy, but he also brings the right intangibles for Detroit. This is yet another win for Jared Goff and the Detroit offense.

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