With all the number crunching that comes with the NFL Scouting Combine, sometimes something gets lost in the translation. Sometimes a player can simply play. And that appears to be the case with former Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell. After posting somewhat meager numbers as a Duck, the three-year starter put up a pedestrian 4.63 forty at the combine in February. That fact, plus his lack of technique combined with playing second fiddle to Oregon All-American corner Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, dropped Mitchell into the deep seventh round (No. 254 overall) in May’s NFL Draft.
But as the last of five seventh round draft picks by the Dallas Cowboys, Mitchell has seemingly made the most noise. Due to Oregon’s classes being in session, per league rules Mitchell could not start practicing with the team until mid-June. But he has made the most of his limited time. So much so, that the Cowboys’ assistant director of player personnel, Will McClay, chose Mitchell as the seventh-round draft pick that has surprised him more than he expected this offseason. Here’s what McClay had to say during a recent radio interview with KTCK-AM 1310 via the Dallas Morning News:
“Yes I would say Terrance Mitchell, who we had decent grades on — the fourth, fifth round — and were surprised to see him there. And he missed the OTA because of the school session. When he came out, when he shows up at minicamp, he just makes plays. He’s one of those guys that you see it on. A type likened to Jairus Byrd — the people that come from Oregon that have a feel for the game. And you saw that natural ability. He may not be a 4.3 corner, but he’s 4.5 with great instincts that make him a 4.4-type player.”
Mitchell did redeem himself during his own pro-day at his high school in Sacramento, CA running an alleged 4.43 in the 40-yard dash in late April. But it failed to help his draft status the following month. For a full breakdown of Mitchell’s abilities, and why he fell so far in the draft, checkout this excellent article by FanSided’s Joe Soriano over at NFL Spin Zone.
But according to Mitchell, he is no stranger to the underdog role. Here’s what he had to say in a interview just prior to the draft with Fox Sports:
“Being from Sacramento, they overlook Northern California. I didn’t get a lot of looks. I was a three-star guy and Oregon took a shot on me. I redshirted my first year, but then I started right away. It’s like the same process in a sense. There’s these five-star guys that get all the attention, but at the end of the day we all still have to play…That’s how it has been my whole life. I’ve always been the underdog. I guess it’s the role that I have to get used to playing and be ready to ball out when I have to.”