Lions draft TE James Mitchell in fifth round

TE James Mitchell (Virginia Tech)

The Lions drafted tight end James Mitchell (Virginia Tech) in the fifth round (177th overall) on Saturday.

He is the second Lions draft pick who is recovering from ACL surgery after injuring his knee in the second game of the 2021 season

“I’m pretty much back. I’m doing everything – I’m running, cutting, running routes, I’m expecting to be fully cleared by June at the latest,’’ Mitchell said. “I’ll be ready to go at training camp. I’m excited.’’

He said he talked with the Lions at the Combine and besides that they had talked with my agent about maybe getting something done after the draft if he wasn’t selected. 

“So when they called me right there towards the end of round five and said they were going to take me I was pretty shocked but very grateful and excited to go there and get started,’’ said Mitchell who is 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds.

He said at Virginia Tech he was used all over the field.

“I became a better blocker as the years went on. I pride myself on playing all over the field, I’m happy to continue to go and learn behind a guy like T.J. Hockenson and soak it all in,’’ Mitchell said in a conference call with reporters.

Mitchell played in just the first two games of the 2021 season. In 2019 (21-361-17.2, two TDs in 13 games, eight starts) and then led the team with four receiving touchdowns in 2020 (26-435-16.7 in 10 games, nine starts)

The NFL.com draft preview said: Mitchell has the foot agility and athleticism to separate on a regular basis if he can tighten up his route running and play closer to his top speed. He’s capable of attacking the seams and is talented with the ball in his hands when he has run-after-catch opportunities. As a run blocker, Mitchell puts in adequate effort but his man ends up near the action or making a play on too many snaps. He has the size to play in-line but might be best suited in a role as a pass-catching H-back.’’

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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