After a slow start to his career in Pittsburgh, FS Mike Mitchell went on to show all of us who he is, and what he’s capable of.
Mitchell came to the Steelers as an UFA, he signed a five-year, $25 million contract in 2014. A few games into the 2014-15 season, many people questioned the signing. Mitchell often got caught out of position and blew some tackles. But it seems like he rebounded in 2015.
Let’s take a look at his 2014 and 2015 stats.
-71 total tackles, 53 solo, 18 assisted.
-3 passes defensed.
-80 total tackles, 58 solo, 22 assisted.
-9 passes defensed.
-2 forced fumbles.
There’s one play that I’d like to point out specifically. It came in the Steelers Week 6 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. In the 4th quarter, the Steelers were leading 18-13, the Cardinals were on the Steelers 20 yard line with 2:27 left to play. The went three-wide with a back behind Carson Palmer. Palmer snapped the ball, faked the handoff, stepped into the pocket and launched it. Mitchell stepped in front of the intended receiver John Brown and picked it off. If you have NFL Game Pass, go back and watch the play, it’s pretty amazing.
Lets be honest, between 2011-2014, the Steelers safety play wasn’t the greatest. Ryan Clark & Troy Polamalu were getting older, and they weren’t looking like themselves. I’m not saying that they weren’t making plays, I’m just saying that their consistency started to slide.
I wrote all of that to say this: it was nice to see Mike Mitchell take a step forward this past season. Whether it be in free-agency or in the draft, the Steelers need to put someone next to him. Someone that will make offenses more scared to throw.
Hats off to you, Mike Mitchell. Steelers Nation is happy to have you on the backend.