The San Francisco 49ers signed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to a four-year contract this weekend, and he will immediately compete for a role in the 49ers run defense. In his first comments to the media after signing, he talked about priding himself on that aspect of his game.
We will have some film breakdown on Monday, but in the meantime, I thought I’d get some outside opinions. I chatted with Kevin Nogle from The Phinsider to get thoughts from a Dolphins fan. Additionally, Jeff Deeney from Pro Football Focus offered up some details on how he and PFF assessed Mitchell.
First up, here’s what Kevin had to say:
Mitchell has been a solid but unspectacular player for the Dolphins. He was injured for half the season last year with a calf issue, spending time on the injured reserve list before being the designated player to return. He was expected to be the run stuffing defensive tackle next to the pass rushing, double-team eating Ndamukong Suh, but never really developed into that player for the Dolphins.
At the end of the day, Mitchell was simply not seen as a player the team wanted to pay $4.5 million for what he provided, especially with Jordan Phillips, who filled in for Mitchell and is positioned to be the starter next year, will only cost $1.2 million on the third year of his rookie contact . As I said, Mitchell is a solid player who will be able to fill a role on a defense still looking to find itself and he will provide veteran leadership, but do not expect to be getting a dominating defensive tackle who will take control of the line of scrimmage. That is just not Mitchell's game.
There have been some questions about what Mitchell brings to the table, and Kevin certainly said plenty.
According to PFF, Mitchell was actually better agains the pass than the run. They gave him 39.2 grade (out of 100) vs. the run, and 74.9 in pass rush. They had similar grades for him in 2015. This past year, they ranked him No. 16 out of 68 defensive tackles in their pass rush productivity rating (15 QB pressures in 158 pass rushes).