As Dillon Mitchell stood on the stage at midfield of the Redbox Bowl, FOX reporter Bruce Feldman asked him about his plans next year. Before he responded, Mitchell looked around at his teammates celebrating Oregon’s 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the Redbox Bowl.
He then took a deep breath and calmly responded…
“I don’t have any good news to tell you right now. I’m going to take a little time, speak with my family and make a decision,” Mitchell said.
Although it was the right response, it wasn’t the one Oregon fans were hoping to hear.
But more importantly, good for Mitchell.
With his six-catch, 70-yard performance in the Redbox Bowl, Mitchell had arguably the greatest receiving season in Oregon history.
His 1,184 receiving yards is the most in a single-season, breaking the record Josh Huff set in 2013 with 1,140 yards. He also totaled 75 catches and 10 touchdowns, both good enough for third-best in a single-season.
“It was definitely something that was a goal of mine once it was brought to my attention,” Mitchell said. “But I don’t really think about it like that because I enjoyed the win more than anything.”
He was the favorite and most reliable target of quarterback Justin Herbert, a potential top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
When Oregon’s offense became anemic — a commonality this season — Mitchell was often the player who got the Ducks out of their rut. His ability to create separation and beat double teams was uncanny.
Not the fastest or biggest receiver at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds, Mitchell has a reliable set of hands, is a precise route runner and elusive in space. He also has very good body control, winning 50-50 balls downfield.
With everything he’s accomplished this season, what more does Mitchell have to prove? Why doesn’t he choose to take his talents to the NFL?
Well for whatever reason, NFL scouts aren’t very high on Mitchell. Despite his production and status, Mitchell hasn’t been featured in any mock drafts — granted most mock drafts only go through the first two rounds.
Should he choose to enter, my assumption is that Mitchell would be chosen in the fourth round and have to fight his way to make an NFL team’s 53-man roster.
Without a doubt, Mitchell could benefit from another year at Oregon. Becoming even closer with Herbert and having a better year than this could only improve his status.
But the downfall is that if Mitchell doesn’t improve statistically (which would be difficult to do), his draft status could only drop.
I Mitchell has until January 14 to declare for the NFL Draft, two weeks to ponder and decide what’s best for his future. It’s a big decision to make, and one that he should make as to what’s best for him and his family only.
Should his final memory as a Duck be looking out at his teammates and fans adorning him with cheers as confetti fell, it will surely be a good one — but only time will tell if he chooses the NFL life or returns for a chance at Oregon immortality.