Max Mitchell, NY Jets, RAS, PFF, 40 Time, NFL Draft
Max Mitchell, New York Jets, Getty Images

Analyzing New York Jets offensive tackle Max Mitchell’s strengths and weaknesses

A day-three offensive tackle prospect from the Sun Belt Conference, Max Mitchell certainly isn’t considered to be among the flashiest prospects that the New York Jets added in the 2022 NFL draft. Few Jets fans had ever heard of the Louisiana product before the moment that Nick Mangold announced the team was taking him with its early fourth-round selection (111th overall).

But here’s the funny truth: from purely a statistical perspective, Mitchell actually is one of the flashiest prospects that the Jets selected this year. He owns some very gaudy numbers that you would not expect to see from a fourth-round pick.

Let’s analyze some of the stellar production that helped Mitchell climb into the fourth round of the draft. After that, we’ll go into Mitchell’s overall profile as a player, breaking down some of his most notable strengths and weaknesses.

Max Mitchell’s shocking production

If you’re going to make it into the NFL as an offensive lineman from a weaker conference, you have to really stand out.

And that’s exactly what Mitchell did. His statistical resume is top-notch and compares favorably against any offensive line prospect in this draft class.

Pro Football Focus awarded Mitchell with an overall grade of 94.8 in 2021, which ranked No. 1 among all FBS offensive tackles. He dominated his small-school competition.

Here are the top 11 highest-graded FBS tackles at PFF in 2021. Mitchell is joined by some fellow 2022 draft picks.

  1. Max Mitchell, Louisiana (94.8) – Drafted R4-111 by N.Y. Jets
  2. Bernhard Raimann, Central Michigan (94.6) – R3-77 by Indianapolis
  3. Tyler Smith, Tulsa (92.3) – Drafted R1-24 by Dallas
  4. Luke Goedeke, Central Michigan (92.2) – Drafted R2-57 by Tampa Bay
  5. Darian Kinnard, Kentucky (91.9) – Drafted R5-145 by Kansas City
  6. Khalil Keith, Baylor (91.7)
  7. Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina State (91.6) – Drafted R1-6 by Carolina
  8. Everett Smalley, Air Force (87.9)
  9. Jordan McFadden, Clemson (87.4)
  10. Kellen Diesch, Arizona State (87.2) – Signed as UDFA with Miami
  11. Zachary Thomas, San Diego State (87.2) – Drafted R6-186 by Chicago

To become the highest-graded tackle in college football, Mitchell performed excellently in many areas during his standout senior season.

One of the best aspects of Mitchell’s game was his ability to play clean football. Mitchell did not commit a single penalty over 879 offensive snaps. That ranked as the greatest total of snaps played without a penalty among FBS offensive tackles.

Jets X-Factor Membership

Between pass protection and run-blocking, Mitchell thrived in both areas but was more spectacular in the run game.

Mitchell’s 95.0 run-blocking grade at PFF led all FBS tackles. Considering that 75.5% of his run-blocking snaps came on zone-blocking concepts, he is ready to step into the Jets’ zone-based offensive scheme.

The right-side edge (the area to the outside of Mitchell, who played right tackle) was Louisiana’s most effective rushing direction. Out of the eight rushing directions charted by PFF, Louisiana scored its most touchdowns (9) and averaged its most yards per carry (6.7) when aiming for the right-side edge.

With much thanks to Mitchell, the Louisiana run game ranked ninth among FBS teams with 34 rushing touchdowns. Louisiana’s running backs gained 2.43 yards before contact per carry, which is over 27% higher than the 2021 FBS average of 1.91.

Mitchell ranked at the 92nd percentile among qualified FBS tackles with a pass-blocking grade of 82.5 at PFF. He gave up 13 pressures over 430 pass-blocking snaps, an allowed pressure rate of 3.03% that ranked at the 81st percentile among qualifiers. Mitchell yielded three sacks, one hit, and nine hurries.

Of course, all of Mitchell’s numbers have to be analyzed with the understanding that he was not facing the greatest competition.

With that being said, you can only play the people in front of you. Mitchell did the best he could to take advantage of his inferior opponents. It would be one thing if Mitchell was merely “good” in the Sun Belt, but he wasn’t. He was dominant. The bar is high for an NFL prospect who comes from a weak conference, and Mitchell cleared it.

We’ll see how well that dominance translates to the NFL.

Build/athletic profile

The main reason that Mitchell slipped to the fourth round despite his excellent production is his physical profile. He is a little light, doesn’t have remarkable length, and posted some poor numbers in athletic testing drills.

Standing at 6-foot-6 and 307 pounds, Mitchell has the height that teams crave in their tackles but his 307-pound weight ranks at the 27th percentile among offensive tackles in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine.

Length is another concern. Mitchell’s 33.5-inch arm length only ranks at the 26th percentile for his position.

Mitchell earned a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 5.55 out of 10, which is fairly low for a drafted prospect. The average score for players who get drafted (regardless of position) is usually about 7.5.

Seen below is Mitchell’s RAS profile, showing how he compares in various areas to the average offensive tackle prospect. You can see that he failed to stand out in any category except for the 10-yard split (1.78), where he showed solid burst at the start of the 40-yard dash before slowing down over the final 30 yards of the run. He struggled in the vertical jump, three-cone drill, and bench press.

Max-Mitchell-RAS-Relative-Athletic-Score-40-Time-New-York-Jets-Draft
via ras.football

Considering the combination of his below-average weight and lackluster performance in the bench press, it seems likely that adding strength will be a focal point for Mitchell at the next level.

Positional versatility

Mitchell played both tackle positions at Louisiana. Here is a breakdown of his career snaps:

  • 1,799 snaps at right tackle
  • 783 snaps at left tackle
  • 84 snaps at left guard
  • 32 snaps at tight end/extra lineman

Mitchell played left tackle over his first season-and-a-half before switching to right tackle midway through his 2019 sophomore season. He remained predominantly at right tackle throughout 2020 and 2021, making occasional fill-in appearances on the left side.

In his sophomore season, Mitchell filled in at left guard a few times. Louisiana also deployed him as a tight end/sixth lineman every once in a while during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Pre-breakout production

Mitchell did not reach elite status until his senior year, but he was still a good player in his sophomore and junior years. We also saw some yearly improvement from him.

Here are Mitchell’s overall PFF grades in each season of his career:

  • 2021: 94.8
  • 2020: 84.3
  • 2019: 81.9
  • 2018: 55.6

Max Mitchell is an intriguing developmental tackle

Mitchell was a worthwhile selection at the top of the fourth round. Although he does not boast remarkable physical traits and comes from a smaller conference, his track record of tremendous production suggests he has the pure skill to develop into either a useful backup or a solid starter at the NFL level.

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Michael Nania is one of the best analytical New York Jets minds in the world, combining his statistical expertise with game film to add proper context to the data. Nania scrapes every corner, ensuring you know all there is to know about everyone from the QB to the long snapper. Nania's Numbers, Nania's QB Grades, and Nania's All-22 give fans a deeper and more well-rounded dive into the Jets than anyone else can offer. Email: michael.nania[at]jetsxfactor.com - Twitter: @Michael_Nania
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Robert725
Robert725
6 months ago

Have to be able to run the ball, especially late in the year. Just extend This season!

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
6 months ago

This is OT: but after the exhilaration of free agency and the draft we then get the schedule.
Most of our best players are in years 1 and 2 and they give a team with 4 wins THIS schedule???
I’d like to see them file a grievance.
I’ve never before seen this tough a schedule coming off a horrid season.
Goodell screwed us.

Jimjets
Jimjets
6 months ago

Really excited about this kid. JD still has work to do in the OLine but we’re getting there

JetOrange
JetOrange
6 months ago

Everyone is talking about Zach has beefed up, but Elijah Moore looks really rocked. The Jets have a Strength & Conditioning Program that works. 10 yard split for an OT is important in this Offense.

Jonathan Richter
Jonathan Richter
6 months ago
Reply to  JetOrange

Yes. If the problems you list about a guy is his weight and his vertical leaping ability, I’m not worried. Put him on a diet and weight lift program and he can easily add 15 lbs in a year. I’ve never seen a O lineman be called upon to jump up in the air that I can recall. The only one that worried me was the bench press. Great development project. Could replace Fant in a year, with Becton moving back to the left again.

JetOrange
JetOrange
6 months ago

To your point 21 reps on the bench, even for an OT, is not horrendous. Let me guess 27 is average. Increase in weight and strength by training camp

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago

Great breakdown, to be transparent I am higher on this pick than others. I have been banging the drum for a developmental OT to allow us to let Fant go next year and reallocate those resources next year to finalize the roster and make the transition to perennial contender. Fant is a good player but not a 15 to 20 million dollar player. Lastly, Mitchell looks more athletic on tape than his testing numbers show. Any truth that his numbers may have been down due to him gaining weight after the season and if so are we getting a player with more upside than maybe the general consensus may show. Thanks

hh11212
hh11212
6 months ago
Reply to  Michael Nania

Thanks I rewatched his opening media appearances after he was drafted and he says he is up to around 315lbs. I guess trying to get that strength up seemed like his #1 priority. If he can take the next 18 months to add 3 to 5 lbs, get to around 320lbs and focus mainly on regaining/improving his athleticism from what I have watched so far I think he may be able to progress to a starting level OT but it all depends on if he can make these improvements.