The Eagles will look to add some safety talent this season through both free agency and the draft. With three long-time Eagles safeties set to hit free agency and Pat Chung probably on his way out, Philadelphia may need to add several players at the position. The Eagles biggest priority for free agency may be bolstering the safety unit.
Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell is an interesting player for the Eagles to consider. He played for a Carolina defense that was among the best in the league last year. Mitchell is the ninth ranked available safety on Rotoworld.
Mike Mitchell was drafted by the Oakland Raiders with in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft at pick No. 47. I'll never forget the look on NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock's face when the Raiders made this pick. Mayock, who had a 7th round grade on Mitchell, was shocked to see him drafted as high as he was.
He went on to play in 61 games for the Raiders over four seasons. He only started 9 of those games, however. Mitchell finished with 87 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 12 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble, 4 fumble recoveries in Oakland. The Raiders let Mitchell walk in free agency. He signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers shortly after.
Mitchell appeared in 15 games and started 13 for Carolina. It was the most games he ever started in a single season, with his previous high being only 4 starts. As a Panther, Mitchell racked up 4 interceptions, forced 2 fumbles, and made 52 tackles. He also managed 4 sacks, 3 QB hits, and 4 QB hurries, which is pretty good for a safety.
Appeal to the Eagles
Mitchell, who will turn 27 in June, has decent size at 6-1, 216 pounds. He's coming off a year where he proved he can be an effective starter. He also doesn't have any major injury concerns.
His coverage skills are impressive. Quarterbacks had a mere 50.6 QB rating when throwing his way, which was the 6th best among all NFL safeties. Mitchell was one of seven players who caught four or more interceptions last year.
A concern with Mitchell is his tackling ability, or lack of it. According to Pro Football Focus, Mitchell missed a total of 18 tackles last season. That was good for the most in the NFL. He effectively missed a tackle for every 4.2 attempts, which was the worst rate in the league.
Appeal to Mitchell
Mitchell could look to stay in Carolina given it's the first time in his career he's found success in a starting role. He also gets to play behind a talented passing rush unit, which theoretically makes his job easier. The Eagles could hope to outbid the Panthers without having to break the bank.
If the Eagles want to bring in a mid-level safety who excels in coverage, Mitchell could be worth taking a chance on.
If Mitchell can't work out a new deal in Carolina, there could be another starting job opportunity for him in Philadelphia.