One of the players we first identified here as someone the Bears were interested in may have looked like an off-the-radar candidate at the time.
Ohio University safety Mike Mitchell is very much on the radar now.
He had a private workout for two teams at his high school in Fort Thomas, Ky., on Monday. He travels to Cincinnati today for a visit with the Bengals and from there he will go to Cleveland where he will meet with the Browns. Mitchell then heads to Oakland on Thursday and will wrap up the week in Green Bay on Friday. That's a busy week to add to the three official visits he's already had to this point.
``I didn't want to smell like old cologne, so I had to get two more suits to add to the rotation,'' joked Mitchell about his weekend shopping expedition.
Suddenly, Mitchell has gone from a possible late-round selection to a guy who could come off the board in the middle rounds. The Bears went in for a visit with him last month and are just one of the teams with genuine interest in him.
"I feel like God has blessed me with pretty good physical ability,'' he said. ``The thing that is intriguing to most people is I'm 6-0 1/2 and 220 pounds. They look at my body and I'm a lean guy, I'm strong, I'm fast, I run a 4.43 40 so I've got some pretty athletic tools to go along with size. When they see my measurables and then see my highlight tape--I think everyone's highlight tape is amazing--they see a mixture of size and speed and hitting. I think teams say, `This guy can play,' even though I went to a smaller school. My highlight tape is out now, my agent has done an amazing job and I think people are starting to see. That's what has happened to me.''
Here is a look at a Mitchell highlight tape that shows you plenty of him in action. More and more NFL teams are finding starters from MAC schools and Mitchell has game tape against bigger programs like Ohio State, Missouri, Northwestern, Virginia Tech and Rutgers.
``There have been a couple teams that have said they like me better at one safety position over the other,'' Mitchell said. ``But I've talked to eight or nine teams and the word I am hearing the most is `interchangeable.' I think that is the key phrase for me. My college coach allowed me to play free safety and strong safety and I even played nickel. I've done a lot of things and I think that makes me more valuable.''
Mitchell pulled a hamstring in his pro day March 12. Before he came up injured, he posted a 4.43 in the 40 to go with a broad jump of 10-3 and a vertical jump of 37 1/2 inches. He also put up 21 reps on the bench press at 225 pounds. He said the injury is about 85 percent so most of the interest he's been getting the last few weeks has been teams just wanting to visit with him, put him on the board and get to know him better. Mitchell could have been recommended to the Bears new secondary coach Jon Hoke by his brother. Brady Hoke was the coach at MAC rival Ball State before leaving for San Diego State this offseason. Because Mitchell did not get an invite to the combine, it's likely the Bears had him in for a pre-draft visit to give him a physical. Here is the list of players known to have made visits.
After his whirlwind week, he'll just be patiently awaiting the draft, something he wasn't sure would be a reality a little more than a month ago.
``Actually, one GM told me he wishes no one knew about me because they wanted to draft me late,'' Mitchell said. ``That kind of assured me I'm a guy that is going to be drafted and that was awesome to hear. But at the same time I was very humbled. It's a tricky business.
"I take a lot of pride in it and wanting to be drafted is obviously one of my goals. But more important than that is the goal to make a 53-man roster and contribute and work to be one of the best safeties to ever play the game.''