Max Mitchell, NY Jets, PFF Grade, Stats, Draft
Max Mitchell, New York Jets, Getty Images

Did the New York Jets find a fourth-round steal in Max Mitchell?

When New York Jets fans found out Duane Brown would start the season injured reserve, they went into panic. The idea of fourth-round rookie Max Mitchell starting in Week 1 was not something that anybody was looking forward to.

Three weeks later, Mitchell is one of the most popular players on the team.

Mitchell has vastly exceeded expectations over these first few starts of his career. That’s not to say he’s been an All-Pro, but for a rookie who was thrust into the fire much earlier than intended, he has been impressively sturdy.

In fact, Mitchell is holding up better than many of his rookie peers who were drafted much earlier.

As of Week 3, there are six rookie tackles who have played at least 100 pass-blocking snaps. Here is how they stack up in terms of their allowed pressure rates, per Pro Football Focus:

  1. Tyler Smith, Cowboys (3.4%) – 4 pressures on 117 snaps
  2. Max Mitchell, Jets (5.2%) – 9 pressures on 173 snaps
  3. Abraham Lucas, Seahawks (6.0%) – 7 pressures on 117 snaps
  4. Charles Cross, Seahawks (6.8%) – 8 pressures on 117 snaps
  5. Evan Neal, Giants (7.6%) – 10 pressures on 131 snaps
  6. Ikem Ekwonu, Panthers (8.7%) – 9 pressures on 104 snaps

For reference, the 2022 NFL average for OTs thus far is 5.3%.

Mitchell ranks second-best out of the six qualified rookies with an allowed pressure rate of 5.2%. That’s actually a smidgen better than the league average for tackles this year.

Three top-10 picks are currently situated behind Mitchell on the list: Ekwonu (6th), Neal (7th), and Cross (9th). Lucas was an early third-round pick.

Even in the run game, Mitchell is trending up. Mitchell had a rough debut as a run-blocker in which he earned a 42.7 run-blocking grade at Pro Football Focus. But over the past two weeks, Mitchell has a solid run-blocking grade of 65.6 that ranks second-best among rookie tackles during that span (trailing only Tyler Smith). He’s forming an exciting duo with Alijah Vera-Tucker.

It’s way too early to make any declarations. Mitchell has to prove this start is for real, and he still has a lot of improving to do before he can be considered a definitively above-average starter. Meanwhile, guys like Neal, Ekwonu, and Cross have plenty of time to develop and reach their sky-high ceilings.

With that being said, I’m sure the Jets are elated about the way Mitchell has played so far. This level of production is beyond the wildest dreams that anyone could have had for Mitchell prior to the year – especially in comparison to how other rookies are playing.

On that note, it’s interesting to think back to the Jets’ decision with the fourth overall pick.

The Jets selected Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner at No. 4, but many people thought the Jets should take Neal or Ekwonu in that spot due to their lack of faith in Mekhi Becton‘s reliability. Sure enough, Becton suffered a season-ending injury a few months later, and the Jets’ decision to pass on the top OT prospects came back into the limelight.

But now that Mitchell is playing better than Neal and Ekwonu while Gardner enjoys a strong start, Jets general manager Joe Douglas is sitting pretty. Douglas is having his cake and eating it too – at least for now.

Audio Version available to members only: Learn more here

Download Jet X Mobile on the App Store and Google Play.

Want More NY Jets News & Jets X-Factor Content?

Download the free Jet X Mobile App to get customizable notifications directly to your iOS (App Store) or Google/Android (Google Play) device.

Add Jets X-Factor to your Google News feed to stay up to date with the New York Jets.

Follow us on Twitter @jetsxfactor for all the latest New York Jets news, Facebook for even more, Instagram for some of the top NY Jets images, and YouTube for original Jets X-Factor videos.

Join the official Jets Discord community to connect with likeminded fans.

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
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
7 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Peter Buell
Peter Buell
2 months ago

The last two drafts from Douglass really couldn’t have gone better.
He made some screwed trades to gain extra picks but to date
Gardner at #4 has been tremendous, Wilson at #10 has broken out after not being used much week one.
Breece Hall is sharing the rb position with last year’s draftees Michael Cafter and doing well.
Jermaine Johnson has been one of thier better pass rushers and now we see a surprise in Max Mitchell saving the day on the OL.
Having 5 picks starting by week 3 is very rare and followed a big class from 2021 with 4 or 5 starters coming out of that class.
10 starters in 2 drafts. Now Saleh needs to step up and use this talent better.

Peter Buell
Peter Buell
2 months ago

The last two drafts from Douglass really couldn’t have gone better.
He made some screwed trades to gain extra picks but to date
Gardner at #4 has been tremendous, Wilson at #10 has broken out after not being used much week one.
Breece Hall is sharing the rb position with last year’s draftees Michael Cafter and doing well.
Jermaine Johnson has been one of thier better pass rushers and now we see a surprise in Max Mitchell saving the day on the OL.
Having 5 picks starting by week 3 is very rare and followed a big class from 2021 with 4 or 5 starters coming out of that class.
10 starters in 2 drafts. Now Saleh needs to step up and use this talent better.a

Robert725
Robert725
2 months ago

A pleasant surprise in a season so far FILLED with disappointment! This fanbase has been patient LONG enough, tired of this sleepwalking garbage! WAKE UP, TEAM! Stop taking these fans for granted, are you listening coaches, ownership?! Just extend THIS season, while you still can!!!

Robert725
Robert725
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert725

Need a little fire in the belly! Bill Parcells?!

Psi
Psi
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert725

Bill likely would have benched JFM for his boneheaded roughing the passer penalty. A little public facing accountability would help Saleh’s waning credibility with the fans.

BigJetsFan1
BigJetsFan1
2 months ago

PFF rates 4 Jets rookies as the top 15 rookies in the league this past week. Max, GW, Sauce and JJ. When has that EVER happened? Its a slow turnaround. You have to look at the bright spots. Let’s hope Zach makes the 2nd yr leap.

Last edited 2 months ago by BigJetsFan1
Reprocity
Reprocity
2 months ago

This class is a close second to the 2000 draft class.