Monday, October 15

Freddie Mitchell hopes to be top pick in Saturday’s draft


Players' size, attitude, speed will affect who teams will choose as wide reciever

  Freddie Mitchell

By Joshua Mason

Daily Bruin Reporter

Freddie Mitchell will finally get the chance to assess whether
his hard work in the off-season is worthy of a top pick in
Saturday’s NFL draft.

UCLA’s Biletnikoff Award finalist worked hard to get to
the point he’s at right now, running an impressive 4.44
seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Indianapolis Combine, where he
also received praise for his hands and overall performance.

Despite all that he has proved at the combine and his three
impressive years as a Bruin flanker, Mitchell still has his
critics.

He’s been criticized for his lack of a big-receiver frame
(most draft analysts list him at 5-foot-11).

Mitchell’s speed has also come into question, until he
silenced critics with one of the faster times among those who chose
to run at the combine.

Even Mitchell’s character has come into question at times
by scouts who perceive his propensity to boast as a potential
detriment to team unity.

“Freddie’s a very positive player, and he’s
very competitive, and I think sometimes people misinterpret what
type of person he is,” said UCLA Receivers Coach Ron
Caragher, who has worked with Mitchell for four years.

“When he talks, he talks for the team because he wants to
push his teammates to those higher levels that he sets as his own
goals,” he added.

Former teammates like Brian Poli-Dixon see Mitchell’s
outgoing nature as a positive for the team that drafts him on
Saturday.

“He adds a little bit of flamboyance to a team, and he can
also make big plays,” Poli-Dixon said. “He’s a
guy who can definitely go out there and talk the talk as well as
walk the walk.”

Mitchell will be waiting with his family in their Lakeland, Fla.
home until the phone rings on Saturday.

He’s predicted by most as a first-round pick, anywhere
from the No. 12 position to somewhere in the late 20s. As many as
six receivers could be selected in the first round, including three
wideouts who faced UCLA last season: Michigan’s David
Terrell, Oregon State’s Chad Johnson and Wisconsin’s
Chris Chambers.

“It’s definitely a deep draft for the wide receiver
position,” Caragher said. “Terrell is a great physical
specimen at 6-4, but I personally would take Freddie any day over
the other guys that we’ve seen play last season.

“When it comes down to the game of football, you throw out
size and all that other stuff. It comes down to mental toughness,
and who is the toughest competitor inside,” Caragher
continued. “Freddie is a champion because he competes at the
highest level and won’t back down to anyone.”

Mitchell should feel confident about getting drafted somewhere
in the first round. Likely suitors might be the Redskins, Broncos,
Eagles, or if he were to fall that far, possibly even the Miami
Dolphins ““ a pick that would bring Mitchell closer to
home.

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