Strengths: Lance Mitchell took a circuitous route from his California home to Norman, Oklahoma. His first stop was for two years at City College of San Francisco, where he earned junior college All-American honors after leading the school to two undefeated, national championship seasons. He then signed a letter of intent to become a Florida Gator, and had actually started attending class in Gainesville when he found out that he was one course shy of being eligible to play under SEC rules. After getting that news, Mitchell headed west and became a Sooner.
Mitchell stepped in at middle linebacker for OU and led the team in tackles and tackles for loss, stopping at least one ballcarrier behind the line in 11 of 14 games. His two most dominant performances were against Missouri, when he made 19 tackles, including 14 solo and three for loss, and Texas, when he made 16 tackles, including 12 solo, two for loss, and a sack.
Mitchell has the full physical package for an inside linebacker. He is big and strong enough to take on and shed blockers, and has the burst to explode into the backfield when he spots the ballcarrier.
Areas of Concern: Mitchell is at his best when he is allowed to run free and find the ball. Burden him with complicated responsibilities and reads and he won’t be the same player. As a result of his aggressiveness, he has a tendency to run himself out of position by overpursuing and biting on play fakes.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Mitchell has the talent to be an outstanding inside linebacker, but he may not have the discipline to thrive in a complicated scheme like the one used by the Texans. Vic Fangio was criticized when he coached the Colts for running a defense that was too complicated for young players to master, so the Texans may not be the best fit for Mitchell.
If Mitchell ended up a Texan, he would finally get to play under (although not directly) Houston secondary coach Jon Hoke. Hoke was the defensive coordinator at Florida when Mitchell signed with the Gators.
(profile written by Warren DeLuca
Lance Mitchell’s 2002 Stats G TCK TFL SACK FF FR INT 14 124 19 4.0 0 0 0
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