One of the top stories for the Kansas City Chiefs last season, particularly at the end of the year, was the play of cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who ranked among the top players in the league at that position over the final few weeks of the regular season.
From Week 13 to the end of the year, Mitchell had five passes defensed, which ranked fifth in the league, and opposing quarterbacks completed just 45.5 percent (15 of 33) of passes thrown in his direction, which ranked 10th.
The quarterback rating when testing Mitchell was just 58.8, which ranked just behind the Denver Broncos' standout duo of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib.
Simply put, he was good, like *really *good.
What made it all the more impressive is that it was production from a guy who had been released by the Chiefs twice earlier in the year.
It was largely unexpected.
In fact, Mitchell's story, albeit early to tell, has been one of waiting for an opportunity and never letting the disappointment of getting released stand in the way of being ready the next time the phone rings.
Prior to his first start for the Chiefs last year, which came against the Oakland Raiders at home on December 8, Mitchell had already been released seven times in his career.
For a clearer understanding of what Mitchell, who is just 24 years old, has faced already in his young career, here's the transaction list for him since he first entered the NFL in 2014:
November 23, 2016 - Signed to the Kansas City Chiefs active roster
November 9, 2016 - Signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad
November 7, 2016 - Released by the Kansas City Chiefs
October 18, 2016 - Signed to the Kansas City Chiefs active roster
October 18, 2016 - Released by Kansas City Chiefs
September 6, 2016 - Signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad
September 3, 2016 - Released by the Houston Texans
June 13, 2016 - Claimed off of waivers by the Houston Texans
June 10, 2016 - Released by the Dallas Cowboys
December 18, 2015 - Activated to the Dallas Cowboys active roster
December 2, 2015 - Added to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad
November 23, 2015 - Released from the Chicago Bears practice squad
November 18, 2015 - Added to the Chicago Bears practice squad
November 17, 2015 - Released by the Chicago Bears
October 14, 2014 - Activated on the Chicago Bears active roster
September 1, 2014 - Added to the Chicago Bears practice squad
August 30, 2014 - Released by the Dallas Cowboys
Originally entered NFL as seventh-round pick (254th overall) by Cowboys in 2014 NFL Draft
Mitchell is hoping the success he found late last season translates over to this year.
On Thursday afternoon, Chiefs coach Andy Reid spoke of what he has seen from Mitchell through offseason workouts and the first few days of OTAs, which for him, began with a higher level of confidence.
"I would tell you just that," Reid agreed of Mitchell's improved confidence. "He's more confident than when he got here, even though he was pretty good then. He's a very good athlete and he was sort of thrown in the fire last season and he did a pretty good job.
"Now, people have had an opportunity to study him, so we'll find out. He understands that so we'll work through the challenge."
Mitchell agrees that he's more confident.
"The more reps and the more experience you can get, it definitely makes you more and more confident," Mitchell explained after Thursday's OTA practice. "Just being out there gives me more confidence. I thank the coaches for just giving me the opportunity.
"With all the places I've been in my career, going up against all the different kinds of receivers I've faced, I always knew I could play, I just had to wait for my opportunity."
From facing guys like the Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins, the Dallas Cowboys' Dez Bryant or the former Chicago Bear and now Philadelphia Eagles receiver, Alshon Jeffrey, Mitchell had faced some of the league's best players at practice in his career on a consistent basis.
Now, Mitchell finds himself among one of the most talented secondaries in the entire league, highlighted by two All-Pros in cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Eric Berry.
"It's a lot of skill and talent, so it brings out the best in you," Mitchell added. "Competition brings out the best, so it just helps you prepare and be the best you can be."
Mitchell might be in the midst of figuring out what his best might look like, and all he needed was the opportunity.