Terrance Mitchell is key player for Chiefs

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports /

Terrance Mitchell has found his way into the rotation of Chiefs cornerbacks, and he’s impressed the coaching staff. He figures to be a key factor down the stretch.

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Terrance Mitchell has been on the team’s active roster for only a little over a month, but he’s beginning to make his mark on the field.

Mitchell, 24, is in his first season with the Chiefs and his third in the NFL. Drafted in the seventh round in 2014 by the Dallas Cowboys, Mitchell has found his place in the Chiefs secondary in the last three games.

According to Pro Football Focus, Mitchell has been the NFL’s third-best cornerback in the last three weeks. In that timespan against the Raiders, Titans and Broncos, he’s given up nine receptions and 77 yards on 24 targets. He had a career-high three pass deflections against the Titans in Week 15.

Currently listed as the third left cornerback on the Chiefs’ depth chart, Mitchell has found his way on the field due to some injuries and because, quite frankly, he’s been playing well. He has only given up about 26 yards per game over the last three weeks.

Mitchell got his first start with the Chiefs in the Thursday night win at Arrowhead against the Raiders. According to PFF, he only gave up three receptions on seven targets for 14 yards.

As a player making his first start in primetime against the hated Raiders and Derek Carr, that’s awfully impressive.

“He has a little bit of experience and it looked like it showed,” said Andy Reid on Mitchell’s performance against Oakland. “It didn’t seem too big for him. He got in, and he competed–gave you an honest down.”

Reid’s right; Mitchell doesn’t have much NFL experience. The cornerback left Oregon a year early after his junior season to enter the draft. He didn’t expect his stock to fall all the way to the seventh round, though. At Oregon, Mitchell started in 38 games and finished his career with 144 total tackles. When he left for the NFL, Mitchell stood at tied for 10th in school history for most passes defended.

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The Cowboys released Mitchell in August 2014 before his rookie season, but the Bears picked him up. He spent all of the 2014 either inactive or on the team’s practice squad. Eventually, he found his way back to the Cowboys about two-thirds through the 2015 season but has had limited in-game experience.

Mitchell’s starting to gain that valuable experience with the Chiefs. His performance is coming in big time for the Chiefs on defense, and he’ll have to defend against some of the better quarterbacks in the league moving forward. The Chiefs face off against Philip Rivers Sunday and could face other great NFL quarterbacks in the playoffs.

We’ll have to see what happens the rest of the way, but if I were a bettin’ man, I’d say that Mitchell will continue to thrive for the Chiefs.

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