Dear Mike Mitchell: You Are The Last Line Of Defense

OAKLANDRAIDERCorrespondent IApril 29, 2009

Dear Mike Mitchell:

You are the last line of defense

Also known as a safety, a position for the most savage players on the football field. You are the last player between the other teams offense and the endzone.

To play safety, you must have great range with the ability to see the whole field. You must be a student of the game always watching videotape on opponents quarterbacks, you are the eyes of the defense, nothing gets past you, you must be able to stop the run when needed, as well to cover man on man, you are the vocal leader on the field.

Your hits must strike fear in opponents to the point were they hear your foot steps. Your hits are like thunder coming from the sky. Quarterbacks who throw balls over the middle of the field will pay. Helmets will be cracked, bones will be broken, chin straps will be knocked off. Players will be hurt.

Show no mercy. You are a play maker, you force fumbles, intercept passes, stuff the run. It's not a game, this is your job.

You are a Oakland Raider, Welcome to the Black Hole.

The Raider Nation has had there eye on you.

Mike Mitchell, you are the last line of defense.

When your name was called in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL draft, the so called draft "experts" didn't even know who you where.

Mel Kiper Jr. had you rated as his 73rd best safety not 73rd overall on his draft board but 73rd at your position. Total disrespect.

ESPN didn't have video highlights on you when you were selected, yet ESPN had video footage for alot of the 7th round picks. The "experts" said that you where at best a 7th rounder and most likely would of been a undrafted free agent if not selected by the Oakland Raiders.

They where wrong.

The "experts" sat around a table and laughed at you, they said the Oakland Raiders had no clue on what they where doing when they picked you with the 47th overall pick.

They where wrong.

The "experts" said you where the reach of the draft. The "experts" said you would be an automatic bust. The "experts" disrespected the Ohio football program.

The "experts" are full of crap

Mike Mitchell, you are the last line of defense.

The Raider Nation needs you, don't worry what "experts" think they know, if they where on top of there game, then they would have known who you are. They would have seen you play, then would of been aware of your pro day and how many teams wanted your services.

The Oakland Raiders believed in you more then any other team in th NFL, and that's why we selected you. We did our homework on you, we see your potential to be an elite hard hitting play-maker in this league. We know what type of player you will be.

You have the support of Owner/GM/NFL Legend Al Davis, Head Coach Tom Cable, Hall of Fame player Defensive Back and our current Defensive Back coach Willie Brown, Defensive Coordinator John Marshall.

All of the coaches on our staff had some say in this, the whole Raider Nation believes in you.

In these upcoming months, I hope you work out and get into the best shape of your life. Take the gym more serious. You must train as hard you can every single day, eat right, sleep right, and take care of you body. For the NFL season will take a toll not only on your body but you mind as well.

Study your playbook every second you are not on the football field. You must be the master of the building, the more time you put in the better the results will be. Learn techniques from Willie Brown and Nnamdi Asomugha.

Mike Mitchell, you are the last line of defense.

Every single time you lace up football cleats remember how the "experts" disrespected you, every single time you pull those shoulder pads over your head, be prepared to knock someone out. The Raiders need you to be an enforcer, we need you to be the backbone of our defense.

I heard an interview in which you said, you model your defensive game after Jack Tatum and Ronnie Lott. You said growing up these where your favorite players to watch on NFL Films, these are two great role models, study how they handled themselves and the mentality it takes to be an elite player...


Jack Tatum is one of the hardest hitting players to ever play in the NFL. "The Assassin" Mr. Jack Tatum himself. When I think of safety, I think of Jack Tatum. If you model your game after these two players, that is the kind of safety I want watching my back.

(Jack Tatum Video)


Ronnie Lott was so savage just looking into his eyes made you weak, Ronnie Lott once broke his finger in the middle of a game, instead of leaving the game and going to the locker room, Ronnie Lott had his finger cut off, he then wrapped it with tape and continued playing the rest of the game. This is the attitude needed to be an Oakland Raider.

(Ronnie Lott Video)


If you prepare yourself correct, learn from the Raiders coaching staff, and handle yourself like a professional on and off the field, then success will come your way.

You are now apart of the Sliver and Black, you represent the Raider Nation. Let your game be all the proof needed to your doubters

Mike Mitchell, you are the last line of defense.