In the second round of the NFL draft, the Dolphins sent their card to the podium with the name of former West Virginia quarterback Pat White on it. And it evidently didn't have an asterisk or any other notation that indicated that the multi-talented signal-caller was being drafted as a wide receiver or a return specialist.
After suffering through a 4-8 season at Ohio, safety Michael Mitchell needed to rise out of the ashes like the mythological bird, the Phoenix, before he could soar to new heights.
And boy, did he ever.
Mitchell and I talked two months ago and he was clearly befuddled over being snubbed by the NFL Combine selection process and by his status as an under-the-radar prospect who many prognosticators projected as a late-round selection at best. But on Saturday, to the shock of practically every draft pundit and members of the NFL media community, the Oakland Raiders added Mitchell to their roster in the second round with the 47th pick overall.
At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, the former Bobcats defensive back had startled NFL scouts with a Pro Day workout that included 21 bench press reps, a vertical jump of 37.5 inches, and a pair of sub-4.5-second 40-yard dashes. And when teams started to review more film, they saw a fast-to-the-ball safety who really packs a wallop when he hits people, forcing their legs to fly out from under them as he lowers his shoulder into their chest. He made 62 tackles during his senior year, forced a pair of fumbles and picked off three passes.
"I looked at the day as, 'finally here's my chance.' I just wanted to get in a room with guys like William Moore, Mike Hamlin and Louis Delmas and compete with those guys. But since I didn't get to do that, my Pro Day was my chance to show that I could," he said.
Mitchell worked out for the Chicago Bears, who stayed in close contact with him following his Pro Day, and for the Bengals during their local Pro Day for area athletes. And he had official visits with the Indianapolis Colts, the Cleveland Browns, the Oakland Raiders and the Green Bay Packers.
"I would be lying if I said that I knew I was going to get drafted on the first day, but my agent, Brian Hamilton of Plan B Sports told me I had a good chance," Mitchell said during a phone call Monday night. "He called me at about pick 44 or 45 and told me that Chicago had just called and to stay close to the phone, that he thought I was about to be a Bear."
But before Chicago had an opportunity to make their move, Oakland stepped upto make their second-round pick.
"Pick 47 rolls around and my phone rings, and it's Oakland, and they said that they were going to draft me. Once I got off the phone with Coach Cable, we went nuts, I went running down the street barefoot, just screaming. It was a really good time."
Mitchell's agent also told him that the Cleveland Browns had led him to believe that they were targeting the physical defender early in the draft.
At 6-foot-1, the hard-hitting safety will have the most imposing physical frame outof all of the defensive backs in the Raiders secondary.
"I'm going to go in there anywhere between 215 to 220. I'll be a really good size, I'm going to be strong, I'm going to be ready to help them win games," he said.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.