We've noticed many of the college SBN blogs helping out their sister NFL blogs by putting together draft profiles of their former players who could potentially be taken in the first two rounds. So we're following suit. The Bulls have three such players; today we're profiling Carlton Mitchell.
Measurements: 6' 2 7/8", 215 lbs. No, he didn't lose 81 pounds overnight, that's what he always weighed.
40 time: 4.49 seconds at Scouting Combine.
College Stats: Set USF's single-reason receiving yardage record in 2009 with 706 yards on 40 catches. Career totals of 105 receptions, 1648 yards (a USF record), and nine touchdowns.
Quick Bio: Mitchell joined the WR rotation as a redshirt freshman in 2007 and made two memorable plays. He was on the receiving end of Matt Grothe's crazy TD pass against West Virginia, and he caught a 75-yard TD pass against UCF that made everyone realize the Bulls were trying to run up the score on them. Mitchell didn't become a starter until his junior season last year, playing in 11 games and starting 10. He had a career-long 85-yard touchdown to open up the second half against Syracuse and ended up with three 100-yard receiving games on the season. Primarily a deep threat and big-play receiver, averaging almost 16 yards per reception over his career and 17.6 yards in 2009. We really got an idea of Mitchell's downfield speed and range when B.J. Daniels and his bazooka arm took over at quarterback.
A lot of USF fans feel like he left for the NFL too early, but the chance (need?) to provide for his family makes it understandable to me, anyway. It would have been nice to see what Skip Holtz could do for him. Holtz should streamline personnel this year and stop the revolving door at receiver and running back, which could have helped put a spotlight on Mitchell. But he had already decided to go pro before Holtz was hired. Oh well.
Pros: Good speed for his size - he's like a downfield receiver in a possession receiver's body. Isn't afraid to take a hit to make a play, even over the middle. Blocks well down the field and on the edges. Has what Hubie Brown would call "tremendous upside potential."
Cons: Never became THE receiver in the USF offense. (I couldn't tell you whether that was because he wasn't dominant enough, or because the Bulls had too many receivers in their rotation. Probably a mix of both.) A little slow out of the blocks at the line, and doesn't have the greatest hands in the world. Bring up the next-to-last play of the USF-Cincinnati game in 2007 when he dropped the game-winning TD in the end zone, and Bulls fans get mad and start snapping off F-bombs. Never had a big game against elite competition.
NFL Comparison: Sidney Rice with not as good hands, or Braylon Edwards with much better hands. The Rice comparison works better for me. Mitchell and Rice share a lot of attributes - size, general speed, the ability to make speed moves on DBs and break away down the field, and toughness. We can only hope Mitchell hits it big in the NFL like Rice did in 2009.
Projection: Mitchell performed well at the combine and with his combination of size and speed, someone may decide to invest a second-round pick in him. It might be interesting to see the Chargers draft him at 60th overall if someone backs up the truck to sign RFA Vincent Jackson and San Diego, which is not exactly flush with cash, decides not to match and takes the draft picks.
2007 Highlight Reel
2008 Highlight Reel
2009 Highlight Reel