After seeing flashes of his talent during his first two seasons, 2018 was the Dillon Mitchell show. The wide receiver’s speed and athleticism were on full display as he torched Pac-12 secondaries and broke records. His stellar junior season begs the question… Will Mitchell strike while the iron is hot and declare for the NFL draft? Or will fans see Mitchell in an Oregon uniform next season?
Some of the top underclassmen around the country have already declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. The deadline to apply is approaching (Jan. 14, 2019).
Should he choose to declare, Oregon's receiving corps would severely miss Mitchell. UO's second returning receiver, sophomore Jaylon Redd, has less than half of Mitchell's receptions and yards with 368 yards on 31 catches.
Preseason, Mitchell was picked as a consensus All-Pac-12 second team selection by Athlon, Phil Steele and Lindy’s Sports. The 6-foot-2, 189-pound junior has shattered expectations during one of the best seasons a Duck receiver has ever had. Some notables:
- About 40 percent of Herbert’s 175 completions in Pac-12 play have been to Mitchell (69 receptions)
- Leads the Pac-12 in receiving yards (1,114), and leads all FBS players with six 100-yard receiving games in conference play
- His excellent footwork and dependable hands have led him to 17 consecutive games with a reception.
- Vs. Stanford: His 14 receptions are the second highest single-game total in UO history (Samie Parker, 16 receptions vs. Minnesota, 2003) and his 239 receiving yards are also second highest in UO single-game history (Tony Hartley, 242 yards vs. Washington, 1998)
Mitchell could crush more records in UO’s pending bowl game. He is very close to breaking the Oregon single-season record in receiving yards, catches and touchdowns.
- Needs only 27 yards
- Needs only nine catches
- Needs three touchdowns
How’d he double his receiving yards from last season (led UO with 514 yards)? Improvement in Mitchell’s route running has been apparent. He is precise and tricky. The connection between him and Herbert is something special to watch.
As a draft-eligible junior, will Mitchell take his talents to the NFL? With his insane production this season, he will certainly request a grade from the NFL, at the very least.
He’d likely be picked, but his draft range would be closer to the 4th round.
Herbert’s decision to stay for his senior season or declare might have an impact on Mitchell’s decision. Oregon's offense will take a huge hit if both decide to take their talents to the NFL. Mitchell has not made any comments about the NFL, yet. This story will be updated.