2023 NFL Combine Profile: Mitchell Tinsley, Wide Receiver

Penn State has had some electric wide receivers come through their program and go onto the next level. Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin and Jahan Dotson have been impact players for their NFL teams.

Despite spending just one year at Penn State after transferring in from Western Kentucky, Mitchell Tinsley was an impact player on the field. The wide receiver room will have a lot of production to replace with the departures of Tinsley and Parker Washington headed to the NFL Draft.

Tinsley will have a lot to prove at the NFL Combine. As an undersized receiver, he’ll have to show he has a trait that can push him from being potentially undrafted, to firmly on team’s draft boards. Tinsley proved he could handle the leap from Conference USA to the Big Ten last year.

Here is a look at Penn State wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley as he prepares to show what he has to offer in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine.


WEST LAFAYETTE, IN – SEPTEMBER 01: Mitchell Tinsley #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions runs for a touchdown during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 1, 2022 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Mitchell Tinsley didn’t start playing football until his senior year of high school. He enrolled at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas for two years where he recorded 57 receptions, 656 yards and four touchdowns.

Coming out of community college, Tinsley was a three-star recruit and ranked 272nd nationally in the junior college rankings according to 247Sports. He committed to Western Kentucky where he played alongside current Patriots backup quarterback [autotag]Bailey Zappe[/autotag].

In the two seasons at Western Kentucky, Tinsley caught 130 balls for 1779 yards and 18 touchdowns. After putting his name in the transfer portal, he received offers from Tennessee, Florida State, North Carolina, Louisville, Nebraska and Rutgers. Ultimately, Tinsley decided on enrolling at Penn State for his final year of eligibility.

When he decided to transfer to a Power 5 program, there were questions if he could excel against tougher competition. He quickly proved he could play at the higher level. He finished the year at Penn State leading the program in receptions (57) and was second in receiving yards (577).


Nov 5, 2022; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley (5) catches a pass in front of Indiana Hoosiers defensive back Tiawan Mullen (3) during the first half at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

There is nothing physically that Mitchell Tinsley possess that would blow scouts away. However, his biggest strength is his ability to catch the ball. He has great hands and showed he can make tough, contested catches on the sideline and in the middle of the field. Reliable pass catchers are always sought after in the NFL.

Another strength of Tinsley is his route running. He has a knack of finding the soft spots in a zone defense and presenting himself to his quarterback. When facing man coverage, he has enough wiggle and sharp cuts to create separation.

As a player who will primarily line up in the slot at the NFL level, his ability to find openings and make strong catches could make him an interesting late day prospect. He’ll have to showcase his hands and crisp route running at the combine in front of all the NFL decision makers.


Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley (5) runs with the ball against Utah Utes safety Cole Bishop (8) during the first half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Like previously stated, Mitchell Tinsley doesn’t possess any special physical traits. He’s an undersized 6′ 0″ 200 pound receiver without game breaking speed. He proved he could make the leap going from junior college to Division 1 football then to a Power 5 level conference. However, the NFL is a completely different animal. The best athletes across the entire country make up the NFL rosters.

There are concerns that the separation he got in college by finding space in zones and beating lesser athletes won’t translate. Even if Tinsley has great hands, it won’t matter much if he’s too covered for the quarterback to get him the ball. At the combine, he has to show that he can get separation in one on one matchups. As a player who will primarily play in the slot, winning underneath matchups is what is required of those players.

Where Tinsley sits among draft prospects

Jan 2, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley (5) celebrates after making a catch for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Utah Utes in the 109th Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell Tinsley is ranked low amongst the wide receivers in this year’s draft class. There are some high level prospects at the position this year, so it’s not too surprising that someone with Tinsley’s profile would be overlooked as of now.

He currently is a fringe player to be drafted during the 2023 NFL Draft. He’ll need to wow scouts and decision makers during the combine to prove that he can compete and stick at the next level.

Draft outlook

STATE COLLEGE, PA – SEPTEMBER 24: Wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley #5 of the Penn State Nittany Lions catches a pass for a touchdown against the Central Michigan Chippewas during the first half at Beaver Stadium on September 24, 2022 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Right now, the highest Mitchell Tinsley has been mocked to go in this year’s draft is the seventh round. That is actually very impressive considering that four years ago he was playing junior college football after playing just one season in high school.

Players who can catch the ball effectively and get open constantly are always coveted in the NFL. He proved he could do that during his three years of NCAA football.

Tinsley decided to transfer to Penn State because of the lineage of wide receivers who have gone on to play in the NFL. He’s looking to add his name to the long list of pass catchers playing at the next level. With a strong showing at the combine, Tinsley could find himself in a position to be drafted.

Other Penn State players at the 2023 NFL Combine

Story originally appeared on Nittany Lions Wire