2019 NFL Draft

Dillon Mitchell: The future mayor of Memphis but first a Super Bowl to Minnesota

Dillon Mitchell: The future mayor of Memphis but first a Super Bowl to Minnesota

Former Oregon wide receiver Dillon Mitchell is now a professional football player for the Minnesota Vikings with a Tommy Hilfiger deal pending and driving a custom Lamborghini Gallardo as a draft gift from a Memphis car dealership.

Although those perks are thrilling, Mitchell is most excited to get to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Vikings rookie mini-camp to show that he belongs in the National Football League.

Projected to go as high as the second round, the Vikings drafted Mitchell with the 239th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft in what has been widely considered as a “steal.” As the wait prolonged for Mitchell to hear his named called, many wondered, did the junior make the right decision to turn professional?

“Looking back I definitely feel like I made the right decision for myself,” Mitchell said. “Going forward, I believe at the next level, with great coaches and great people around me, I will only build up my skills. I’m happy with my decision.”

Coming off of the best seasons a Duck has ever had, Mitchell’s mindset never wavered; he had zero moments of doubt. As more teams passed him up, Mitchell held tight, knowing his opportunity would come. The Memphis-native stayed calm by being around his close circle of family and friends in his hometown and taking naps.

Mitchell’s agent told him they were aiming for day two of the draft (rounds two through four), but when day three arrived and a team hadn’t called yet, Mitchell began to revel in being a “diamond in the rough” and went out to breakfast with his family on Saturday morning.

“As the days and the picks dwindled, the size of the chip on my shoulder increased,” Mitchell said.

When he finally got the call, he pressed pause on the Sherlock Holmes movie he was watching with his fiance, former Oregon track and field athlete and current Nike sprinter, Deajah Stevens. He expected to have tears of joy but Mitchell described the moment he got drafted as “life changing.”

He plans on using that determination to compete for the Vikings’ vacancy for a third receiver from the jump. Mitchell’s ability as a ball carrier, excellent route running, efficient footwork and yards after catch potential make him an enticing weapon for the Vikings.

The biggest slight on Mitchell, who holds Oregon’s record for single season receiving yards with 1,184, on any draft profile is the concern with his work ethic in the weight room. Right now, the 6-foot-1 receiver is weighing in at 205 pounds after adding five pounds of muscle working out ahead of the draft. He plans on becoming more of a “gym rat” to build a solid base to compete at the next level.

Interestingly, Mitchell will get to learn from two veterans that know his situation very well. Recent history shows the Vikings have success in bringing in under-the-radar receivers and making a success out of them. Minnesota selected Stefon Diggs in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, while Adam Thielen went undrafted in 2013 before attending a rookie tryout and signing a three-year, $1.48 million contract as an undrafted free agent.

“It definitely shows me that their coaching staff and organization invests and believe in their players when they draft them,” Mitchell said. “It’s showed me that anything is possible, you don’t have to be a top-four round pick. Thielen, he’s one of the best receivers I’ve ever seen, and Diggs, I’m just so excited to get there and follow in the footsteps of guys like them, plus the history of Cris Carter and Randy Moss."

Getting drafted by Minnesota was a “dream come true,” but it was also a shock. The Vikings did not bring Mitchell out for a pre-draft workout or reach out prior to day three of the draft. 

Mitchell celebrated with a good old-fashioned BBQ in his hometown of Memphis. To show appreciation to his closest friends, he gifted them Oregon jerseys from this breakout junior season. Then, he flew to Los Angeles to pick up the rest of his stuff and reports in Minnesota on Thursday. He can’t wait to explore the city of Minneapolis, which he has visited once before on a basketball tournament trip in high school.

Mitchell is turning a new leaf with a new jersey number, 13 (his number at Oregon) was available but the receiver decided to start a new era of his career wearing the number 17 in purple. He laughed as he divulged that purple is his favorite color, a dangerous statement considering the former Ducks rival Washington sports the same color.

In Minneapolis, he will be reunited with former Washington quarterback Jake Browning and Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion, both competing for the backup role behind Kirk Cousins.

“It’ll be a little weird now being on the same team, but I’m excited because I know those guys are excited and great people.” Mitchell said.

His four-year contract is projected to be worth $2,600,316 with a $80,316 signing bonus, according to OverTheCap.com. Mitchell plans on saving his signing bonus and the rest of the checks for the season, while living off the Tommy Hilfiger deal.

Mitchell isn’t done at Oregon, though. He has aspirations to finish his Bachelor’s Degree in political science. He is only two quarters of classes away and plans on taking online classes during season and will return to Eugene to take a few more classes in the offseason. With his political science degree, Mitchell’s goal is to become the mayor of Memphis, but first, he’s focusing on priority one: helping bring a Super Bowl to Minnesota.

Atlanta signs Tony Brooks-James to free agent contract

Atlanta signs Tony Brooks-James to free agent contract

The Atlanta Falcons signed running back Tony Brooks-James to a free agent contract. Here is what the Falcons are getting with the ProDuck and how Brooks-James fits the team’s needs.

TEAM NEEDS running back, running back, running back. Currently on the ATL roster: Devonta Freeman, who has battled injury; newly acquired three-year back Jeremy Langford, former Oregon running back Kenjon Barner, and a few others. Brooks-James should be in that competition with his unique speed.   

YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT in the running back room at Oregon, Brooks-James was lovingly referred to as “grandpa”. He also almost single handedly put a stop to “swag surfing” in Autzen Stadium, when former Oregon coach Willie Taggart left for Florida State.

AT OREGON Brooks-James totaled 3,302 all-purpose yards over his career. His workload decreased from a high of 118 touches in 2016 to 60 touches last season. He finished last season with 57 carries for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Brooks-James added 21 kickoff returns for 548 yards, with his 26.1-yard average return ranking 21st nationally.

PRAISED FOR his speed, speed, speed! Brooks-James ran the 40-yard dash in 4.45 seconds at Oregon’s pro day and though that’s an unofficial hand-timed result, it would’ve tied for second among running backs to run at this year’s NFL Combine. Plus, his 4.17 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle would’ve been third among those who ran at the combine.

NEEDS TO WORK ON Ball security; Brooks-James had four fumbles as a senior. In order to get a chance to play special teams in the NFL, Brooks-James must hold on to the ball better and prove to be more reliable as an undersized player.

QUOTE After Oregon’s pro day Brooks James said, “Do-or-die day for me. I left it all on the field. ... Major chip on my shoulder. From not being invited to a bowl game or Combine and been looking down on, I had a chip on my shoulder that I had to brush off today."

BEST SOCIAL POST Brooks-James, also an Oregon track and field athlete, combined both his sports in one impressive photo.

MEASUREABLES 5' 9", 190 LBS

HOMETOWN Gainesville, Fla.

NFL Draft Galore: Four Oregon Ducks find great fits in NFL

NFL Draft Galore: Four Oregon Ducks find great fits in NFL

The 2019 NFL Draft is over and four Ducks became ProDucks. As expected, all four Oregon players were drafted in the mid-to-late rounds. This is the most Ducks drafted since 2015, when NFL teams selected five Ducks, with second overall pick Marcus Mariota leading the way. Before the draft, there were 19 active Ducks on NFL rosters.

Ugo Amadi was the first Duck off the board by the Seattle Seahawks and drafted in the fourth round at No.132 overall.

READ: Here is why the Lombardi Trophy winner is a perfect fit for the *new* Legion of Boom.

READ: Also, it appears Amadi became a father today.

Next, the Denver Broncos selected Justin Hollins in the fifth round, No. 156 overall.

READ: Hollins will compete to be Denver's third pass rusher beside future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller and former first round pick Bradley Chubb.

The third Duck off the board was wide receiver Dillon Mitchell, who is ready to make the NFL world 'eat their words'.

READ: The Vikings drafted Mitchell in 7th round with a need for a No. 3 receiver

With picks dwindling, the Dallas Cowboys, starving for pass-rushers, drafted Jalen Jelks with the 241st pick. 

READ: Jelks, a relentless edge rusher eager to improve, is the newest Cowboy

Jelks and Mitchell went later in the draft than expected. Some teams struggled with where Jelks fits from a position standpoint because he is a bit of a “tweener”, plus a lackluster NFL Combine performance added to late selection. In the case of Mitchell, the UO single season receiving yards record holder, had to compete against a 2019 receivers group full of incredible, large athletes who excel in contested catches.

Because of Mitchell's slide, many poised the question, would it have been smarter for the reciever to return to Oregon for his senior season? It'd be hard to replicate his break out junior season and another year of stats would not have improved his NFL projections much. Striking while the iron was hot and not risking injury still seems like the smarter play for a receiver who didn't have much to gain as an NFL prospect by returning. 

Two more Ducks signed as free agents; Kano Dillon with the Washington Redskins and Tony Brooks-James with the Atlanta Hawks.

The majority of Oregon’s top NFL prospects came back for their senior season: quarterback Justin Herbert, offensive linemen Calvin Throckmorton, Jake Hansen, Shane Lemieux and linebacker Travis Dye. By the way, Herbert already is the talk of the town. The league is licking its lips at Herbert, the 6-foot-6, 235-pound passer with the powerful right arm and sneaky fast wheels.

A total of 30 Pac-12 players were drafted to the NFL this year

Dallas Cowboys, starving for pass-rushers, draft Jalen Jelks

Dallas Cowboys, starving for pass-rushers, draft Jalen Jelks

The Dallas Cowbodys selected Jalen Jelks in the seventh round with the 241st pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Here is what the Cowboys are getting with the ProDuck and how Jelks fits the team’s needs.

TEAM NEEDS Dallas entered the NFL Draft knowing that the defensive line had to be the priority and starving for pass rushers. With Randy Gregory suspended, the Cowboys needed to find a complement to pass-rusher Demarcus Lawrence. Jalen Jelks, a relentless edge rusher eager to improve, could be their guy. With his ability to use his length as a weapon in pursuit of the quarterback, Jelks could challenge for reps early in his career or become an every-down player with development.

YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT Through his five seasons with Oregon, he experienced a Rose Bowl victory, a National Championship run, a 4-8 losing season, three different head coaches and three different defensive coordinators.

AT OREGON Jelks flourished in 2017 during a breakout junior campaign, setting career-highs with 59 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks. As a senior, he switched from defensive end to linebacker and was a nightmare for Pac-12 offenses. Although his sack (3.5) and tackle for loss (7.5) numbers dipped, he finished the season with 57 tackles, which led all Pac-12 defensive linemen and earned him first-team all-conference recognition.

PRAISED FOR Jelks has the intangibles: the try hard attitude and a relentless fighter who exudes competitiveness and aggression. Reportedly, the former Duck was an engaging interviewee at the NFL combine. Multiple reports said NFL teams were impressed by his leadership and personality.

STRENGTHS Jelks is a versatile chess piece that lined up all over Oregon’s defensive front and has the length most GMs dream about. His wingspan measured in at 83 inches at the NFL Combine. His initial quickness and lateral twitch are impressive while his point of attack has proven to be disruptive. Skilled in hand-to-hand combat. He saw action at both linebacker and at defensive end at the Senior Bowl.

NEEDS TO WORK ON Some teams will struggle with where he fits from a position standpoint.  He needs to add mass and strength to his long frame to withstand play in the NFL, as sometimes he tries to play more powerful than he’s capable of.

FUN FACT Would he rather be the Oregon Duck mascot for a day or sing and dance to “Shout” in the middle of Autzen Stadium with fans watching? “Definitely sing and dance in the middle of Autzen!”

BEST SOCIAL POST Can we all just appreciate the slow-motion video Jelks took of a dog going down a slide at a play ground? Social media needs more of this.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BDWhBD5rala/

MEASUREABLES 6' 5", 256 LBS, 34 5/8” ARMS, 9 5/8” HANDS

HOMETOWN Phoenix, AZ

NFL COMPARISON George Selvie

With the 236th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select WR John Ursua

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With the 236th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select WR John Ursua

Name: John Ursua

School: Hawaii

Position: Wide Receiver

Size: 5'10" 175 lbs

Year: Redshirt Junior

Round/Pick: Rd 7 / Pick 236

Accolades: Named to the all-Mountain West first team; Selected to Associated Press and USA Today Mid-Season All America second team; Semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award; Finalist for the Polynesian Player of the Year.

More analysis to come from our Seahawks Insider Aaron Fentress.

With the 209th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select DT Demarcus Christmas

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With the 209th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select DT Demarcus Christmas

Name: Demarcus Christmas

School: Florida State

Position: Defensive Tackle

Size: 6'4" 308 lbs

Year: Redshirt Senior

Round/Pick: Rd 6 / Pick 209

Accolades: Appeared in 51 games with 38 starts…finished career with 105 tackles, including 10.5 for loss with 3.5 sacks, 13 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.

More analysis to come from our Seahawks Insider Aaron Fentress

With the 204th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select RB Travis Homer

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With the 204th pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select RB Travis Homer

Name: Travis Homer

School: University of Miami

Position: Running Back

Size: 5'11" 195 lbs

Year: Junior

Round/Pick: Rd 6 / Pick 204

Accolades: (2018 Junior) Served as Miami's starting tailback for second straight season and delivered another impressive year, earning second-team All-ACC honors...Rushed for career-best 985 yards on 164 carries during regular season, averaging 6.0 yards per carry...Scored four rushing touchdowns and had three 100-yard rushing games...Moved past legend Frank Gore for 12th all-time in rushing yards, having rushed for 1,995 yards in three seasons...

More analysis to come from our Seahawks Insider Aaron Fentress.

Ugo Amadi's best day ever? Drafted to Seattle, becomes a father

Ugo Amadi's best day ever? Drafted to Seattle, becomes a father

Ugo Amadi became the first Duck drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft when the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fourth round, No.132 overall. Not only did Amadi's dream to play professional football come true, it appears he also became a father. He posted about the birth of his son, Ugochukwu Amadi Jr. on his Instagram.

It was a big day for the versatile safety whose four-year contract is projected to be worth $3,165,188 with a $645,188 signing bonus, according to OverTheCap.com

"It's going to be a huge blessing to able to just get an opportunity to play at the next level," Amadi told Bri Amaranthus. "It's something I worked my whole life to get to. Next step will be to work even harder to gain the trust and respect from my teammates to be that guy and come in and dominate early."

Here is more on how Amadi fits on the Seahawks.

 

 

Denver drafts "freak of nature" Justin Hollins in fifth round, No. 156 overall

Denver drafts "freak of nature" Justin Hollins in fifth round, No. 156 overall

Denver selected Justin Hollins in Round 5, No. 156 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Hollins' four-year contract is projected to be worth $2,826,892 with a $306,892 signing bonus, according to OverTheCap.com. Here is what the Broncos are getting with the ProDuck and how Hollins fits the team’s needs.

TEAM NEEDS  Denver needs reinforcements on their defense and looked to the draft to fill in depth at the linebacker position. Hollins will compete to be the third pass rusher beside future Hall of Fame linebacker Von Miller and former first round pick Bradley Chubb. The Broncos may have just found their next aggressive edge rusher in Hollins; his height, speed and long arms could create plenty of havoc in the NFL. Over the last four months, a lot of anticipation and excitement has surrounded the intriguing, 6-foot-5, 250-pound ultra athletic prospect who has been pegged to have untapped potential. 

YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW THAT After a strong showing during the practices leading up to the East-West Shrine Game, he delivered an eye catching performance as a linebacker that earned him Defensive MVP honors. Hollins demonstrated he could play outside linebacker in either the 4-3 or the 3-4 at the next level by totaling 10 tackles, two sacks and three for loss against the elite competition.

AT OREGON his teammates referred to him as a “freak of nature”. Hollins started his career at Oregon as a defensive lineman before moving to linebacker as a junior, where he tore it up. He totaled eight forced fumbles in 2017 and 2018, good for the most in the nation over that span. An Associated Press Pac-12 All-Conference first team choice, he finished his senior year leading the Pac-12 conference with five forced fumbles and stuffing the stat sheet with 64 tackles, a team-high 14.5 for loss, 6.5 sacks, one interception and seven pass breakups.

STRENGTHS Hollins’ speed and ability to read plays set him apart from the rest. At the NFL Combine, Hollins had one of the best workouts among edge rushers; running the 40-yard dash in 4.50 seconds, 2nd highest of the 19 edge players to run. Hollins has a knack for strip sacks and has a sudden inside move in the pass rush that has proven to be dangerous.

NEEDS TO WORK ON Can Hollins perform well in coverage in the NFL? It’s a legit question and something that he plans on working to improve on. Another concern is play with more of aggressive demeanor and not to disappear during stretches of a game.

QUOTE "Sometimes I get caught playing high," Hollins told NBC Sports NW. "Like when I'm tired I tend to stand up a little bit more instead of bending at my hips and my knees to keep my leverage. That's my main weakness. But I'm working on it everyday.

FUN FACT Hollins has been working out at Mamba Sports in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and Athletic Gaines in Los Angeles, Calif., where had a chance to meet Mamba's co-owner, former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.

BEST SOCIAL POST “Forever Friday mood” is definitely a fitting caption for this video of Hollins and teammates dancing on the sidelines.

 

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Forever the Friday Mood 😂

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MEASUREABLES 6' 5", 248 LBS, 33 3/8” ARMS, 10 3/8” HANDS

HOMETOWN Arlington, TX

NFL COMPARISON Obum Gwacham

With the 142nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select ILB Ben Burr-Kirven

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With the 142nd pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks select ILB Ben Burr-Kirven

Name: Ben Burr-Kirven

School: University of Washington

Position: Inside Linebacker

Size: 6'0" 222 lbs

Year: Senior

Round/Pick: Rd 5 / Pick 142

Accolades2018: Named the Pac-12's Scholar of the Year for football and was also the Pat Tillman Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, making him the first football player in the 12-year history of the Scholar-Athlete of the Year award to win that honor and also player of the year (offense or defense) ... also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 and second-team Academic All-America ... one of four finalists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy ... started all 14 games, finishing with double-digit tackles in 12 out of 14...

More analysis to come from our Seahawks Insider Aaron Fentress