Earl Mitchell: From little-used fullback to third-round defensive tackleby Anthony Gimino on Apr. 23, 2010, under Sports
Former Arizona defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who has significant upside because he has been playing the position only two years, was drafted in the third round by his hometown Houston Texans.
This looks like another good fit for an ex-Wildcat, just like it was earlier Friday for his former UA teammate, Rob Gronkowski, who was selected by the New England Patriots.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said Mitchell has the ability and opportunity to help right away as the third defensive tackle in the Texans’ rotation. Mitchell, who began last season as a late-round prospect, impressed so much that he ended up going with the 81st overall selection.
“This is a kid who will bring it,” Kiper said.
Can’t argue with that.
Mitchell, who attended Houston’s North Shore High School, was underutilized in his first two years at Arizona as a fullback/H-back/tight end, but then coaches, needing help at defensive tackle, made a career-defining move for Mitchell. He bulked up and started the past two years on the defensive line, relying on his quickness and athleticism.
He played well enough in just two years on defense that I picked him to my Arizona All-Decade team.
During last season, I talked to NFLDraftScout.com analyst Rob Rang, who said Mitchell’s inexperience at the position was actually a plus because it “makes you feel like this guy has some untapped potential.”