FOXBORO -- It's not always easy for new Patriots receivers to come in and contribute off the bat. Just in the last handful of years drafted players (Josh Boyce and Taylor Price) as well as accomplished free-agent acquisitions (Chad Ochochinco and Reggie Wayne) have had their difficulties adjusting.
Patriots fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell, taken with the No. 112 overall selection on Saturday, will be submitted to similar rigors when he arrives at Gillette Stadium for the first time and he knows it. But he isn't planning on struggling.
Mitchell has been very open about some of the challenges he had reading when he arrived on campus at the University of Georgia. In a piece put together by CBS This Morning, he estimated that he was reading at about a middle-school level when he began his collegiate studies. Since then his love for reading has grown, he's become an advocate for children's literacy, and he's authored a children's book.
Now that he's been drafted by the Patriots, into an offense that has been evolving for 16 years under Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, Mitchell was asked in a conference call how he might handle the famously complicated language in New England's playbook.
"I appreciate the question," Mitchell said. "To be completely honest, I'm pretty confident in my abilities to learn. You know, when I took a visit with the Patriots, we went over several different things to see if I would be a good fit for their system. For them to pick me up lets me know that they have confidence in me to be able to make that adjustment and learn what I need to learn to be the most effective player that I can be on the field."
Mitchell had a productive career for the Bulldogs, serving as one of the most explosive receiving threats in their pro-style offense. He's played both on the outside and the inside, though the majority of his snaps came as an outside option last season. He also seasoned when it comes to running routes that can be adjusted based on the defensive look in front of him.
Because that's something that the Patriots ask of their wideouts, Mitchell already may have a bit of a jump start on what he'll be learning from receivers coach Chad O'Shea.
"I have a lot of experience in that," he said. "To be honest, the majority of our plays were scripted out that way. That's something that I'm comfortable with and I've been doing for four or five years already."
Mitchell got a master's course in that style of play last season under Brian Schottenheimer, who served as Georgia offensive coordinator for a year following three years with the Rams as their offensive coordinator. Schottenheimer is now the quarterbacks coach for the Colts.
"I think it helped a lot because Coach Schottenheimer immediately came into UGA with that mentality," Mitchell said. "He had been doing it for so many years. The tape that we would use to learn plays, the types of plays, the concepts, the adjustments, we got a big dose of that last year at UGA, which honestly, I believe is going to prepare me for whatever comes next."