Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

April 25, 2009
More on Mike Mitchell

ALAMEDA -- Randy Moss was the player first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey was compared to. Second-round pick Mike Mitchell, a safety from Utah, was likened to Ronnie Lott and Jack Tatum.

Mitchell, said he's knocked three opponents out cold.

"I remember being a young kid and watching, not NFL Network but ESPN classic, my dad and I would watch old films of Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott and he'd say, 'that's how you play football,'" Mitchell said. "So from a young age, I knew it was about hitting and being physical. I definitely model myself after those two individuals. I like to impose myself on other people. Obviously, I think I'm a good guy in coverage, I can get interceptions and return the ball when I can, but if there's an opportunity, I usually take my shots, but if I get a shot to hit you, then I'm going to try and knock the person out."

Mitchell will compete for a starting job. This could also mean Michael Huff could be dealt tomorrow.

Mitchell wasn't invited to the Combine but had several visits with teams. He said his agent, Brian Hamilton, told him he might be selected today after being considered a late-round pick.

Not being invited to the Combine motivated Mitchell.

"I'd been a starter for three years and had good numbers," he said. "Coming from a small school, those voters are going to see the guys that come from the USCs, the Missouris, the Texas's, and those guys because they think those guys are the best players. I'm just so excited, I feel 100 percent blessed by God to have this opportunity, because not only did I get drafted, but I showed that, hey, maybe you should start looking at these small school guys too."

Cable said Mitchell might be the hardest hitter in the draft. You can see some of his exploits here:

"When you see some highlights of this guy, and they cut him up, you're going to see a guy that reminds you, and I don't want to put too much pressure on the guy, but he has that Ronnie Lott, that Jack Tatum mentality," Cable said. "He literally knocks people out. Knocks the pile back, knocks runners backward, knocks receivers backward. Very smart football player."

Cable didn't sound bothered by criticism that the Raiders picked Heyward-Bey and Mitchell too high.

That Mitchell hits hard and runs fast (4.43 40-yard dash) were key factors for the Raiders. So they took Mitchell two or three rounds before most thought he'd go.

Cable said he and owner Al Davis are on the same page.

"One of the things that Mr. Davis and I discussed was that I want to very much have a plan," Cable said. "I want to really approach this that there were specific needs to our football team and the best player to fit those needs has been our goal. It wasn't so much do they fit numbers or whatever that is. Certainly, there are some parameters here as an Oakland Raider. You have to be able to run. You have to bring something to the table. But I think the thing that worked out for us is we were all on the same page, that we went at it, we were going to make sure we filled needs for our football team, and regardless of what anyone says, it's OK. I don't know who you're watching (on TV that is being critical), but the guys were good, the feedback I got."

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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