Dillion Mitchell is meeting with NFL teams and ready to make the world 'eat their words'

Bri Amaranthus
NBC Sports Northwest

Dillion Mitchell is meeting with NFL teams and ready to make the world 'eat their words' originally appeared on nbcsportsnorthwest.com

Dillon Mitchell, the highly recruited four-star WR prospect out of Memphis, Tennessee, has been pegged as a "sleeper" in a loaded receiver class but has found a unique niche. The Pac-12 2018 receiving yards leader is eager to make a team and prove he belongs in the NFL, where his goal is to win a Super Bowl.

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Mitchell has visited the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens ahead of the 2019 NFL Draft, according to the former Oregon star. 

Coming off of one of the best seasons a Duck has ever had that resulted in an NFL Combine invitation, Mitchell also had formal meetings at the Combine with the Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys.

"It has been great to be invited in and get to be around the place I would be working," said the Redbox Bowl MVP. "Only surprising aspect would be that as I viewed the NFL facilities, I look back at the Oregon facility as something like Mount Olympus now. Nothing compares to the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex. Nothing."

Mitchell chose to strike while the iron was hot and declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after shattering expectations in 2018, which he describes as a tough decision. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal's advice was if he decided to take his talents to the NFL, go in with a whole heart and don't let an opportunity slip by… Guidance that Mitchell has taken to heart.

"The whole world is going to eat their words." Mitchell tweeted on April 12.

UO's single-season leader in receiving yards said he was referencing his hunger and determination to be one of the best receivers in the NFL. He wants to quiet critics, who list his ball-tracking as a main concern. Mitchell says his agent has told him to prepare for his draft range to be anywhere from first round to undrafted, come April 25-27.

I watched Mitchell show off his electric athleticism by making contested catches away from his frame and at tough angles at Oregon. The chip on his shoulder reminds me of former Ducks basketball star Dillon Brooks; it powers their ability instead of limits it. In my opinion, there is too much for an NFL team to fall in love with for Mitchell to go undrafted.   

Yes, the 2019 receivers group is full of incredible, large athletes who excel in contested catches. The pool of slot players and short-target threats is smaller. Mitchell fits the bill for a variety of team needs, but has been seriously linked to the Cardinals (where he could be catching passes from quarterback prospect and rumored overall No. 1 draft pick Kyler Murray).

If it was up to Mitchell's father, Dillon would be in silver and black next season with the Oakland Radiers. He called his dad is a "top-tier Raiders fan" with a decadent man cave who is considering moving to Las Vegas. Can you imagine Mitchell alongside Antonio Brown in Oakland?

His ability as a ball carrier, excellent route running, efficient footwork and yards after catch potential make him an enticing weapon for NFL offenses. At 6-foot-1, 200-pounds, Mitchell checks the box for his frame. His explosive junior season caught a lot of attention, recording 75 catches for 1,184 yards and ten touchdowns.

The pre-draft visits are a huge opportunity for Mitchell to feature his large route tree and how quickly he can process different game scenarios. Naturally soft spoken, Mitchell's interviews could give him the opportunity set himself apart from the other mid-round wide receivers. 

His biggest strength is his versatility: he could play outside, in the slot, or both. His downfield speed serves as both a scorcher on offense and as a potential force in the return game. Mitchell periodically handled return duties, with a long return of 45 yards on a punt return during his rookie season.

The Draft Network said Mitchell is, "sudden as smoke when releasing off the line of scrimmage or attacking would-be tacklers on screens and other quick-hitting plays." Mitchell lands at No. 124 (round four) on the best available prospects list, which would be the Seattle Seahawks' selection.

A strong combine and Oregon pro day performance added buzz and likely raised his draft stock. Mitchell proved his extremely quick ability to accelerate and stretch the field in the 40-yard dash, timing in at 4.46 seconds, the 14th fastest out of 47 receivers who ran. At Oregon's pro day he recorded a 6.93 second three-cone drill, which would be sixth among 29 wide receivers who ran at the combine.

With his whole heart in it, Mitchell can't wait to hear his name called.

"I think it will be a different type of feeling that I've never felt before," Mitchell said. "I've been holding onto this dream for so long, since I was a kid. And for something to finally happen… I'm not sure what the emotions will be but I'm going to have tears of joy most definitely."

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