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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 30 Kansas at Texas

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INDIANAPOLIS A successful NFL career for Adonai Mitchell would certainly be a very good sign for the development of Anthony Richardson.

That’s what happens when a 21-year-old quarterback gets a 21-year-old wideout in the draft, one with tantalizing potential—having delivered on college football’s biggest stages, yet had to wait for 10 other wide receivers to be drafted before hearing his own name called.

I mean, even the Colts traded back from No. 46 to No. 52, with some hesitancy there on Mitchell, before admitting the talent was too good to pass up.

Mitchell is a scintillating prospect, yet isn’t without some complexifies.

The oozing talent with Mitchell begins with his 6-2, 205-pound frame, running 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. His ease at creating separation at the top of routes is what struck Shane Steichen as a coveted trait.

In games, Mitchell was at his best in the biggest moments. In playing in a remarkable 5 college football playoff games (4 at Georgia, 1 at Texas), Mitchell caught a touchdown in each of them.

-High-level testing athlete. Check.

-Making big plays on the grandest stages. Check.

-Desired height and weight for the receiver position. Check.

So why the fall to the back half of Round 2?

Ballard went on a passionate rant when asked about any potential character questions, nothing criminally, with Mitchell.

“I read some of the bullsh–t that was said on TV,” Ballard said just hours after drafting Mitchell. “Just our typical league. Unnamed sources, bad interviews. That’s just such bullsh–t. It f–king is. It’s bullsh–t. Like, put your name on it. We tear these young men down. These are 21, 22-year old men and if people out there can tell them they’re perfect in their lives? It’s crap. It’s crap. This is a good kid. And for those reports to come out? I said it last year. It’s bullsh–t. I’m sorry. I apologize for the language. I don’t, but I do.

“He’s competitive. He’s like any young player, they get built up, they get built up so big now, especially in college football with NIL and all the stuff they go through. Sometimes, a little adversity, a little humbleness is a good thing. I think he’ll respond good to it.”

If you put any (fair or unfair) Mitchell character questions aside, the on-field concerns aren’t as abundant.

Overall consistency is something to bring up though.

Mitchell played in 32 college games. In just 3 of those he had more than 80 receiving yards, indicating more of a boom or bust vibe in production.

Going back and looking at the impressive touchdown routine in those playoff games, if you take out the 5 touchdowns, Mitchell had just 7 catches in those 5 games, so the quantity of catches on that stage weren’t very abundant.

Mitchell’s yards after catch were at a very low number in his college days.

But the Colts have seen enough to believe there’s a whole lot of clay to try and mold.

Pushing and eating into Alec Pierce’s playing time, which ranked right up there with any wideout in the NFL last year, is something to expect from Mitchell in Year One.

While Pierce has been labeled by some as almost exclusively an outside/deep ball threat, Ballard believes Mitchell’s got more in the toolbox.

“I think he can kind of do it all,” Ballard says of Mitchell. “He’s got work to do, but he is really skilled. He’s a really skilled athlete. Like any wideout that comes in this league, it’s an adjustment period because the coverage is tighter. You have to be better and more detailed on your route running.

“There’s not a lot he can’t do athletically. We’ll see how he comes along.”

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