Age (Draft Day): 22
Height/Weight: 6'0", 200 lbs
40 Yard Dash: 4.3 seconds
Quinyon Mitchell was a highly-touted recruit coming out of high school. He earned offers from several Power 5 schools but ultimately chose to stay closer to home and play for the Toledo Rockets. Despite the lack of national spotlight on the MAC, Mitchell quickly established himself as one of the conference's top defensive backs.
2021 saw Mitchell burst onto the scene, proving that he is an elite playmaker with eight pass deflections in his first season as a full-time starter. In 2022, Mitchell soared to national recognition with an astonishing 19 passes defensed, good for second in the entire nation
Over just three years as a starter, Mitchell's impact is undeniable. Six interceptions, 45 pass breakups, All-MAC and All-American honors . Now, as he eyes the 2024 Senior Bowl, the stage is set for another leap. Mobile, Alabama, could prove to be the launching pad for a first-round rise, showcasing his skills against top competition in one-on-one drills.
Prototype: Mitchell checks all the boxes for an NFL cornerback. He has ideal size and speed (6'0", 200 lbs, 4.3 40-yard dash), long arms, and fluid athleticism. His physical tools allow him to match up with receivers of all sizes and play press coverage effectively.
Ball Hawk: Mitchell has a knack for sniffing out passes and making plays on the ball. He anticipates throws, and times his jumps perfectly to come away with interceptions. His 6 interceptions in three seasons as a full-time starter show his ability to impact the game in a big way.
Physicality: Mitchell is not afraid to mix it up at the line of scrimmage. He uses his size and strength to jam receivers at the snap and disrupt their routes. He also tackles aggressively and is willing to come up in run support.
Backpedal: While Mitchell has good overall movement skills, his backpedal can be a bit high at times. This can make him vulnerable to deep throws if quarterbacks can exploit his cushion and lack of quick twitch in his hips.
Change of Direction: While Mitchell is a good athlete, he may not have the elite change-of-direction skills of some of the top cornerbacks in the draft. This could be a problem against quick, shifty receivers who can create separation with sudden cuts.
Level of Competition: Playing in the MAC, Mitchell primarily faced lesser competition than those in Power 5 conferences. This raises questions about how he will adjust to the talent level of the NFL.
NFL Player Comparison: Darius Slay
Mitchell's size, physicality, and ball-hawking ability are all eerily similar to former Detroit Lions and current Eagles cornerback Darius Slay. Like Slay, Mitchell is a physical corner who can lock down receivers in press coverage and make plays on the ball. However, Mitchell probably won't ever be a cornerback that you'll want to play inside on slot receivers due to longer strides.
Draft Projection: Top 40 Pick
Mitchell's talent is undeniable, and his physical tools make him a potential shutdown corner in the NFL. However, the level of competition he faced in college raises some concerns. Nevertheless, his upside is too high for teams to ignore, and he could be a valuable addition to any secondary in the late first-rounder.
He has the size, speed, and ball-hawking skills to excel at the highest level. However, he needs to improve his backpedal and change-of-direction skills to consistently match up against elite receivers. If he can do that, he has the potential to be a first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.