2016 Player Exit Meetings – S Mike Mitchell

The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.

While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.

Player: Mike Mitchell

Position: Safety

Experience: 8 Years

Free safety Mike Mitchell has been the Steelers’ most important acquisition in free agency in some years—perhaps since the last free safety that they acquired in free agency—though that hasn’t always earned him the appreciation of the fan base.

Mitchell had what I would say was a fairly typical season for him over the three-year span in which he has been with the Steelers, representing some notable highs and lows. While he got his hands on 10 passes, including one interception, he did not add to his forced fumble total.

He tends to get a bad rap for his tackling, but for every high-profile miss that he has (such as at the end of the Ravens game), he has a couple of under the radar tackles in the run game, which is a point that I tried to make late in the season during one film study session piece. I would recommend reviewing that piece here in order to illustrate my point.

Mitchell is not a perfect player by any means, and probably makes a mistake or two more than you would typically like to see from your starting free safety, which can get frustrating at times. He has a tendency to lose track of a receiver when the ball goes over his head and struggles to tackle the catch in those situations, for example.

But he makes a lot more plays than he is given credit for, as attested to his 77 tackles on the year, three shy of the career-high 80 that he posted in 2015. He also recorded his first sack with the Steelers during the Wildcard game against the Dolphins, forcing a fumble that the Steelers recovered in the process.

Mitchell’s performance in the early portions of their late-season winning streak was integral in igniting that fire. During the first three games of that run, he recorded 18 tackles and deflected six passes, intercepting another. I believe it was in one of those games that he saved a touchdown.

The former second-round pick will turn 30 before the next season starts, and he has two years left on his contract. It will be interesting to see what the next two years hold for Mitchell heading into his next opportunity to hit free agency, and if the Steelers will still be in his future. Of course, he could be signed to a modest extension in his final year.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Mark

    Mike Mitchell is an average safety that I thought would bring speed and ball hawking capabilities to our secondary. Which neither has occurred. I cringed watching him intercept a pass and trying to return the football, it was telling that he has no skills in that area and is truly a strong safety playing free safety. Right now he’s a bargain, however, safety must be addressed either this draft or next.

  • RickM

    He’s kind of average. Not as bad as some suggest, but he’s not a Ryan Clark. I think his showboating hurts him in terms of public opinion. Whenever he makes a decent play, he has to tell the world with his ‘arms crossed’ pose. It makes one think of the times he was beaten, with no swagger afterwards obviously.

  • The Chin

    This X 10

  • The Chin

    After going on NFL network and announcing the need for “eye discipline ” vs Brady, he made the biggest gaffe of the game with a profound lack of eye discipline. He’s so vastly overrated it’s absurd. An upgrade at that position could put this defense over the top. He’s a liability more than a plus. I’m certain that will go over like a phart in church here. But I stand by it.

  • RickM

    They need upgrades and Mitchell likely is one of them as you say. But he’s not the only one to get us ‘over the top’. It all starts with the pass rush. Always has, always will. We really need a quality edge rusher as well.

  • The Chin

    Corners have limited help with Mike. Goes hand in hand with pass rush. Pass rush gets better with Cam healthy. I agree with the necessary upgrade of pass rush. Some of that gets instantly better with Cam

  • Michael Mosgrove

    most important fa acquisition? ugh no. ill take dwill over mitchell for that title any day.

  • VaDave

    Or Big Al

  • Steelers12

    i think Mitchell is better than some say he is but if a great prospect at Safety falls to us i say take him

  • I was paid $104000 in 2016 by freelancing from my house and I was able to do it by w­orking part time f­­o­­r 3+ h a day. I was following an earning opportunity I came across from company that i found online and I am so happy that i was able to make so much money. It’s very user friendly a­­n­­d I’m so grateful that i discovered this. Here’s what I did… STATICTAB.COM/owgxpdb

  • francesco

    Oh yes he makes plays but after the ball has been caught! I wonder what his 40 yard dash looks like now?

  • Robert E Lil

    He had 1 pick last season.
    Getting takeaways should be the single biggest concern for this defense. Not only is Mitchell not sound fundamentally – more important is he’s not really a ball hawk

  • Phil Brenneman II

    Everyone knows my opinion on him by now but I will say 2 things.

    1. That stretch you mention Matthew really were his best 2 or 3 games as a Steeler. If he played like that even half the time you may never hear me complain about him again. The problem is he is typically not even close to that level of play.

    2. While I think you were mostly fair in your evaluation of his mistakes it should be pointed out that 2 or 3 of those missed tackles lead to touchdowns. For a guy who prides himself on toughness, he should be embarassed about how many times he lost in a direct contest of wills this year. His best hits come on defenseless players.

  • Ken Krampert

    I agree with everything minus the bargain part….

  • Ken Krampert

    We need to draft a safety high and phase this bum out.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ryan Clark never got many interceptions either.