From now until the 2022 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents. Today, I’ll be profiling one Louisiana tackle, Max Mitchell.
# 74 Max Mitchell, Offensive Tackle, Louisiana (Sr.) – 6062, 307 lbs.
Senior Bowl / Combine.
|Player||Ht / Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Max Mitchell||6062/307||10||33 1/2||80 3/8|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
|8’10 “||25 ″||N / A|
– Has the prototypical size to play tackle at NFL
– Played both right tackle and left tackle, sometimes switching between drives in the middle of games
– Great combo blocker
– Extremely quick off the line, helps him get to the second level
– Good reactionary athleticism and foot quickness to mirror
– Shows advanced hand usage
– Has the urgency and quickness to get into position consistently to seal off lanes in the run game
– Finds himself on the ground too much
– Could stand to get stronger to help with anchor against bull-rush and speed to power
– Plays top-heavy, causing him to duck his head and overextend at times
– Struggles with speed off the edge
– Needs to work on flexibility to deal with bendy pass rushers
– Falls off blocks at the second level a quicker than one would like
– 2021 All-Sun Belt First Team
– 2020 All-Sun Belt Second Team
– 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl Participant
– 2020 & 2021 Joe Moore Award semifinalists
– Over 40 career starts
– 90+ overall PFF grade in five of 13 games (2021)
– Allowed only 13 pressures across 430 pass-blocking snaps in 2021 (per PFF)
– 2-star prospect coming out of Neville High School in Monroe, La
– Marketing major
Louisiana’s Max Mitchell has a chance to be the third Ragin ‘Cajun offensive lineman to be drafted in 3 years. Guards Robert Hunt and Kevin Dotson were taken in the second and fourth rounds respectively by the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Mitchell was also a staple on the 2019 Louisiana offensive line that included Hunt and Dotson as he started all 14 games. The 2019 offensive line paved the way for a rushing attack that ranked in the top 10 for almost all major rushing categories. The line itself was ranked fifth nationally and first in the Sun Belt in sacks allowed with only 1.07 sacks allowed a game.
The offensive line nor the Ragin ‘Cajun run game slow down over the course of 2020 or 2021 while being anchored by Max Mitchell and his 40-plus career starts. Let’s take a look at what he can bring to the table.
Per PFF, Mitchell was the highest-graded tackle in all of college football in 2021 with a 94.8 overall grade. He allowed only 13 pressures across 430 pass-blocking snaps and if you turn on his tape against Texas you can see why.
Below, you can see Mitchell lined up at the right tackle spot. He quickly diagnoses the edge rusher dropping into coverage and keeps his head on a swivel to see the interior defensive lineman expanding to him. Watch how quick and aggressive he’s able to punch and stun the rusher. Then he brings his feet with him to mirror the defender. While the play ended up a sack, it was no fault of Mitchell.
This is how you saw most of Mitchell’s pass rush reps go. He looks extremely comfortable being able to mirror defenders and his length helps him get the first effective punch early to control the rusher.
One of the flaws of many young linemen is effectively stopping inside counter moves by rushers. Take a look at Mitchell. The defender goes for an inside spin, he doesn’t panic he has the lateral quickness to jump inside and effectively pin the rusher to his guard. Great rep.
While you can’t complain much about a 3% pressure rate from Mitchell, he does have some flaws that have shown up on tape and will need to be fixed at the next level.
The first is his tendency to be top-heavy and overextend into defenders causing him to fall. This happens in the run game and the pass game from time to time. While the defender on the rep below is working a push / pull move, you can see how top-heavy Mitchell is, not staying within his base. Plays like this happened a couple of times a game in the ones I watched, which is why I marked him being on the ground more often than you’d like for your tackle.
The other thing that I noticed Mitchell struggling with was speed off the edge. While he’s normally pretty good at running guys up the arc, some of the quicker, more flexible, rushers are able to bend under him. Here, it ends in a big hit on the quarterback.
Being a part a Louisiana team that is annually a top running team in the nation, Mitchell can also bring it in that part of the game. While he won’t be a typical road-grader by any means, he certainly has the ability to contribute to a successful running game.
Watch Mitchell here at the goal line. He’s able to explode off the ball and beat the defensive lineman to the spot, sealing off a huge hole for his running back. Easy touchdown. He shows some nice core strength to be able to hold his block while being tripped up by his own teammate.
While I see some areas that Mitchell lacks athleticism, his short-area quickness is not one of them. Watch him shoot off the ball for this down block. Number 97 for App State stands no chance as Mitchell easily washes from out of the play even before getting help from his guard.
Building off of that, Mitchell also excels on getting to the second level on combo blocks. Watch how quickly he’s able to reach the linebacker and then continues to bully him 10-15 yards down the field, even forcing another defender to trip on his journey. Great rep.
With 40+ college starts comes some football IQ to go along with it. This is something else you saw a ton on Mitchell’s tape. He knows where the play is going and lets the defenders take themselves out of it. Here, on an outside zone play, Mitchell sees his defender run upfield and simply rides him up and out of the play, clearing the edge for the back to get outside and score a touchdown.
The last play, I figured I’d treat you to some pancakes for sticking around this long. While I think Mitchell’s overall play strength is something he can work on, it doesn’t mean he can’t finish a block every once in a while. Below, against Iowa State, you can see he’s able to blow the end off the ball (with a little help from his guard) and then he finishes the block by burying the defender into the ground.
Mitchell has a lot of good tape from his 3 years as a starter at Louisiana. While most of the Ragin ‘Cajun opponents were from the Sun-Belt, Mitchell also showed up and performed well against power-5 teams like Texas and Iowa State. With that and his PFF di lui grading him out as the best tackle in college football last year, you may think he’s a sure-fire first or second-rounder. However, I still see the flaws in his game against speed and power rushers as a reason for caution. Those worries were only compounded at the Senior Bowl. While Mitchell by no means had a bad week you saw the flaws confirmed against speed to power guys like Jermaine Johnson, who planted Mitchell a few times during the week.
Mitchell has the traits to be a successful tackle in the NFL, it just may take a few years of pro-level coaching and weight training to get him to his full potential. That potential is why I see him possibly going as high as the third round, but think it’s likely a team will be able to snag him early on Day 3.
Projection: Day 3
Depot Draft Grade: 7.3 – Raw Traits / Upside Prospect (4th Round)
Games Watched: at Texas (2021), vs Appalachian State (2021), at Iowa State (2020), at UAB (2020), at Senior Bowl (2022)