Earl Mitchell Impresses At East-West Shrine Game

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2010

When a player switches positions in college, it is usually out of them not being able to produce at their original position. This is not the case with Earl Mitchell.

Mitchell played his first two seasons at fullback for the Arizona Wildcats. He was like a linebacker at fullback, looking to hit someone in order to open holes for his running backs.

Mitchell's play earned him cult status with many Wildcat fans, and even led to him receiving the nickname EMFM from fans (the E and last M stand for his name, I'll let you guess what the middle letters stand for).

When Arizona switched to the spread offense, it looked like Mitchell's role would be limited. After one season in the offense, Mike Stoops and company decided it would be best to move him to defensive tackle.

Boy, did that move ever work out. Mitchell's athleticism and talent skyrocketed him to the No. 1 defensive tackle in his first season.

Mitchell racked up 6.5 sacks and 48 tackles in his senior season. This was enough to garner him an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game this past weekend.

Mitchell was expected to be a sixth round pick going into the Shrine game. He wowed scouts with his explosiveness and strong leg drive with his thick lower body.

ESPN draft guru Todd McShay wrote this about Mitchell's performance in one-on-one drills.

"What set Mitchell apart was he doesn't just anchor, he drives through the offensive lineman. He's not looking for a stalemate. No, he keeps pumping his thick legs and just goes through people."

While Mitchell only had three tackles, he was constantly putting pressure on the quarterback and making his presence felt all over the field.

His performance throughout the week vaulted him into the fourth or fifth round of the draft. If Mitchell has a strong performance at the Combine then he could move himself up to the third round of the draft.