Number 19. The rookie out of the University of Georgia, Malcom Mitchell, is finally hitting his stride and becoming a crucial part to this Patriots offense. Mitchell is clearly here to play, he means business. He is also here to stay. The staff loves him, other players have nothing but good things to say, and most importantly Tom Brady can't get enough of the kid.
Though Mitchell's season started quietly and slowly, he has now seemed to have turned it on. Appearing in 10 games so far this season (missing only the second meeting with Buffalo), Mitchell had only 7 catches through the first 8. Now, two games later Mitchell has a reception total of 17. He had 4 receptions for 98 yards and a score at San Fransisco, marking his first career TD, and reeled in 5 balls and two touchdowns against the Jets.
Another thing that is clear is that Mitchell is gaining his quarterback's trust. Through his first 8 games played, Mitchell averaged 1.8 targets. Now in the past two games, Brady has thrown the ball his way 5 and 7 times, for an average of 6 targets. Also, Brady was a guest on WEEI's Kirk and Callahan a week or so ago. On the show, Brady raved about both Mitchell's skill and football IQ. Needless to say, if Brady thinks you have a good head on you shoulders, you most likely do. Brady believes this kid is the real deal and I am assuming the rest of the organization would agree.
So it is clear that he is playing well, but he is showing more than that. For the past two weeks Mitchell has looks like such a crucial part of the offense, both as a possession receiver and vertical threat. He looks like he is comfortable. This makes me think he is really fitting in and he should be viewed as a long-term player.
Mitchell was asked about how he has been able to contribute more and more each week. “I think the most important thing you do is just practice as hard as you can,” Mitchell said. “You can’t control a lot of the stuff that’s asked or that you guys ask. It’s simply going out there and practicing. You just go from there, honestly.”
He was also asked about the road ahead of him. “It’s still a learning process. I’m a rookie,” he said. “Every day is a day that I can try to get better and do something better than I did the day before...The team has done a phenomenal job of encouraging me at times when things get tough and also just helping me with any advice they can give me."
So, the kid has the football talent, the smarts, and the work ethic. Can you think of a more perfect Patriot?
This guy is going to be something special. That I am confident in.