Re: Step it up, Texans
You know, I've been hyper critical of the Earl Mitchell pick since day 1, since I had Geno Atkins on my board in the 3rd round of the 2010 draft. The Texans take Mitchell in the 3rd at pick #81. Atkins gets drafted in the 4th at pick #120.
Anyway, yeah Mitchell needs to step it up, but to be fair, as a NT in a 3-4 he has out performed Cody in every aspect of the game.
Shuan Cody - Career stats - 190 tackles - 3 sacks - 2 FFs. 8 Seasons
Earl Mitchell - Career stats - 86 tackles - 2 sacks - 1FF. 3 Seasons
Mitchell has only had 3 starts his entire career.
2012 - Mitchell 3 starts - 31 tackles, Cody 12 starts - 17 tackles
2011 - Mitchell 0 starts - 27 tackles - 1 sack, Cody 16 starts - 23 tackles - 1 sack
Put in another perspective:
BJ Raji - 44 more starts than Mitchell - 112 tackles, 10.5 sacks
Casey Hampton - 161 more starts than Mitchell - 373 tackles - 9 sacks -HOF?
Vince Wilfork - 125 more starts than Mitchell - 460 tackles - 16 sacks - HOF
Compare others. I'm not saying that Earl Mitchell is a world beater, but since the stat line is pretty telling for a defensive lineman (as opposed to some other positions), let's take the middle ground, and say with a Hampton like career of 12 years, at Mitchell's current pace, that's 344 tackles, 8 sacks, at the very least - and that's not even as a starter - which he will be.
I can't find a backup NT in the whole NFL that has stops like Mitchell. So, yes, he needs to step it up, but no, I would be surprised to see another NT taken very high in this coming draft. A backup to Mitchell, sure. Lower rounds. It would be very nice to have a super dominant NT on the team, but you know, we might just have one in Mitchell. It'll be interesting to see what he does with 16 starts in a season, that's for sure.
I mean, if Mitchell had 55 stops, 3.5 sacks, 3 passes defended (like 2012) and 2 FFs, would you take it? That's on par with Wilfork's best years in 2008 and 2011. In other words, at Mitchell's current pace, per season, that is very doable...maybe more!