Reinforcements continue to roll in for the Patriots playoff run. First, they sign James Harrison and now, in a bit of a surprise, wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell practiced for the first time all year. After a breakout game in the Super Bowl, the second-year receiver was poised for a breakout season. However, he has spent the entire season on I.R. With that said, he can be activated at any time. Well, that time could be coming.
Per reports, Malcolm Mitchell back at practice. Pats have had issues at wideout getting away from man coverage. Maybe Mitchell helps that depending on how knee responds
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 27, 2017
The fourth-round selection out of Georgia had a solid rookie campaign in 2016. In 14 games, Mitchell hauled in 34 passes for 401 yards and four touchdowns. He had a solid 12.5 YPC average and seemed to quickly assimilate himself to the complex Patriots offense. A feat that is hard for most new veteran receivers let alone a rookie.
In the playoffs, Mitchell hauled in seven passes for 75 yards. He had one reception for five yards in the AFC Championship game and six receptions for 70 yards in the Super Bowl. He didn’t score a touchdown, however, he made crucial catches (including a huge one on third down late) in the game that helped the Patriots complete the historic comeback.
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Naturally, most expected Mitchell to take a huge step in his sophomore season. However, a knee injury slowed him during the offseason and eventually landed him on injured reserve. Mitchell became an afterthought following the season-ending injury to Julian Edelman but his loss still hurt the Patriots. Mitchell showed that he could make plays outside the numbers and down the field last year. Something that the Patriots have struggled at to this point in the season.
Mitchell would likely not suit up against the Jets in Week 17. With that said, with an impending bye week, it would not be surprising to see him ready for the Divisional round. With no new injury news on Chris Hogan, Mitchell’s presence alone would be a boost for this offense. Recently signed, Kenny Britt, added size to this Patriots team to compliment Rob Gronkowski. Mitchell adds another dimension to this still-potent offense.