Since Bill Belichick took over as the head coach of the New England Patriots, the franchise has achieved a lot of success. However, the one thing the team has struggled to do in the Belichick era is draft a productive wide receiver. The team’s inability to draft a productive wide receiver hasn’t affected updated Super Bowl betting predictions, but rookie Malcolm Mitchell seems poised to end the team’s receiver drafting woes.
Last week, Mitchell had four catches for 98 yards, which included an impressive 56-yard touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in their 30-17 victory. After the game, Mitchell earned some praise from quarterback Tom Brady, who usually doesn’t throw praises at rookie receivers.
After the game, Brady told reporters that he has really been impressed with the way Mitchell has performed on the field and how he carries himself in the locker room.
Since Belichick took over, the team has drafted a slew of receivers that didn’t work out. In 2003, Bethel Johnson was a second round pick, but never lived up to the expectations. Other receivers drafted by the team that didn’t measure up include P.K. Sam, the team’s fifth round selection in 2004, Chad Jackson, a second rounder in 2006, Brandon Tate, a third rounder in 2009, Taylor Price, a third rounder in 2010, Aaron Dobson, a second rounder in 2013, and Josh Boyce, the team’s fourth round pick in 2013.
Even though the team has struggled finding the right wide receiver that fits their system, they have had a lot of success with tight ends like Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, who became Brady’s top receivers. Hernandez was released after he became a murder suspect, but Gronkowski is still producing at a high level, and might own all receiving yards for a tight end by the time he is done playing.
If Mitchell can continue improving, the team is hoping he can be their next great receiver, which will also take a lot of pressure away from Gronkowski, by giving the team another offensive weapon.
During his weekly radio appearance, Brady said Mitchell was very smart, and he was happy to see the young receiver taking advantage of the opportunity given to him. Brady added that he didn’t know what the coaches saw in Mitchell when he was drafted, but he had confidence in their pick because he knew they were very interested in drafting him.
Now that he is a part of the team, Brady has seen some of what Mitchell brings to the table, and like the Patriots coaching staff, he too has been impressed with what he has seen so far.
Even though Mitchell only has 11 catches this season, he has 193 yards, which is impressive for a player that gets limited playing time.
Last week, Mitchell filled in for Chris Hogan, who is dealing with injuries. Logan is listed as questionable this week, which means Mitchell will likely fill in for him again if he is unable to play.
With the way the coaches and Brady have praised Mitchell this week, you would think he will let it go to his head. However, he remains humble and according to him, wants to do whatever he can to help his team get the win.