Pre-Camp Reads: Terrance Mitchell Ready for Opportunity

The fourth-year cornerback stepped up last year

One of the top stories for the Kansas City Chiefs last year was the play of cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who ranked among the top players in the league 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.

Before last year, Mitchell, who was a seventh-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys in 2014 out of Oregon, had only played 130 defensive snaps in his career.

In fact, Mitchell had already been released seven times in his young career, including twice by the Chiefs, before he had a chance to start a game and show everyone his abilities.

Here's the transaction list for Mitchell 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, who finished the year with 239 snaps played, got the first start of his career on December 8 against the Oakland Raiders, and he was outstanding.

Here's what Pro Football Focus had to say after Mitchell's performance against the Raiders:

"The former seventh-round pick dominated. He was targeted seven times on the day, yielding only three catches for 14 yards. Mitchell capped it off with the game-ending pass breakup in one of the most impressive cornerback performances all season."


With that experience last year, Mitchell gained confidence—something coach Andy Reid said has carried over to this offseason. 

"He's more confident than when he got here, even though he was pretty good then," Reid explained of Mitchell during OTAs. "He's a very good athlete, and he was thrown into 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."


"The more reps and the more experience you can get, it definitely makes you more and more confident," Mitchell explained. "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."

2017 Outlook: 

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 gone up against some of the league's best players at practice on a consistent basis before he came to the Chiefs.

He took those opportunities and made sure he'd be ready if he were ever given his own opportunity to step on the field in a real game, which finally came last year.

With a defensive backs room with guys like Marcus Peters and Eric Berry, along with Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen and Steve Nelson, there's plenty of experience returning for the Chiefs secondary.

For Mitchell, the question at training camp will be whether he can continue to build upon what he showed at the end of last season.

If he can, the Chiefs defense will be the better for it, and the story of what Mitchell has gone through to get to where he is will add another great chapter to an already-intriguing book.

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