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Indianapolis Colts select Texas WR Adonai Mitchell with the 52nd overall pick. Grade: B+

My only concern about Adonai Mitchell is that when he’s not getting the ball, he’s not always the most interested guy on the field. But if Colts head coach Shane Steichen can keep Mitchell engaged, he’ll be rewarded with a bigger receiver who can run all the little-guy routes, and can just kill cornerbacks with speed cuts. The Colts had a bunch of good receivers without a true alpha dog; perhaps Mitchell will be able to set himself apart.

Adonai Mitchell was a four-star recruit from Cane Ridge High School in Missouri City, Texas, and he chose Kirby Smart’s Georgia program over offers from multiple major programs, and an original commitment to Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss program. Before the 2023 season, he transferred to Texas to be closer to his daughter, who was being raised by his parents while he attended school.

Between Mitchell, Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, and tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders, Texas quarterbacks certainly weren’t lacking for targets in the 2023 season. And Mitchell, who caught 55 passes on 86 targets for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first season with the Longhorns after those two seasons at Georgia in which he was underutilized, proved to be the most complete receiver of that impressive group.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Mitchell ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the scouting combine, and that is well in line with the explosive nature of his play. Last season, he bagged eight receptions of 20 or more air yards on 22 targets for 302 yards and three touchdowns, and with an NFL team in possession of a more credible deep passing game, that reception total could easily double sooner than later.

Able to beat cornerbacks over the top as well as he’s able to scorch defenders on quick hitches and slants, Mitchell is a few little tweaks away from true No. 1 receiver status at the next level. The upside is pretty fierce here.

PLUSES

— Great vertical speed, but it’s Mitchell’s speed cuts that will put defenders in blenders; he can cut and re-set at full speed without losing ground, which is a rare attribute. That speed also allows him to cross a cornerback’s face before the cornerback knows what to do about it.

— Sinks into his breaks on digs and slants like a five-year NFL veteran; he’s really well-formed and practiced as a route-runner overall.

— Can be a YAC addition to a receiver room with open space in front of him; Mitchell is especially tough to deal with on hitches and comebacks.

— Has an extra gear in the open field, and will accentuate it with subtle movements as deep defenders converge.

MINUSES

— Mitchell’s contested catches are made more through speed and separation than force; you can take him out with physicality to a degree.

— Let’s just say that he’s not the first guy you’ll have in mind when it comes to blocking for other receivers on screens and run plays.

— Not especially physical in traffic. He doesn’t dry up and blow away with defenders converging, but it’s not an attribute.

— Had just 11 explosive receptions last season, but I could see that total double in the right NFL offense; there were only so many deep balls to go around with Texas’ roadrunners.

Mitchell is one of My Guys this year. I love his ability to get free with moves that a lot of NFL receivers haven’t mastered yet. As long as you scheme him into space to a point and let him cook, he can be a devastating explosive weapon. Not a small guy at 6′ 2¼” and 205, and if he can develop a bit more dawg in him, he absolutely has X-iso potential at the next level.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire