Bears

NFL draft deep dive: Who is Louisiana OT Max Mitchell?

Louisiana-Lafayette offensive lineman Max Mitchell warms up before playing Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 27, 2021 in Lafayette, La.

Max Mitchell had one scholarship offer coming out of Neville High School in Monroe, Louisiana.

“Just the Ragin’ Cajuns,” Mitchell said at last month’s NFL Scouting Combine.

He turned an opportunity at Louisiana into three years of starting experience and a chance to hear his name in the NFL draft later this month. Mitchell, a 6-foot-6, 307-pound offensive tackle, projects as a likely second- or third-round draft pick.

While the Bears just drafted a pair of offensive tackles last year in Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom, they might not be done adding to the position. Jenkins and Borom are not sure things at tackle. New Bears general manager Ryan Poles has said his team will play its best five linemen. He has not committed to playing Jenkins or Borom at tackle. One of them could make the move to right guard, where the Bears currently an open starting spot.

So don’t assume the Bears won’t draft a tackle just because they took two tackles a year ago. Mitchell might fit well into the “lighter” and “quicker” mold that Poles said they’re looking for.

Mitchell is not overwhelmingly big, but he can move. By all accounts, he has the leadership skills the Bears covet up front. Mitchell can play both right and left tackle. He has the height for the position and the arm length (33.5 inches).

“My offensive line coach, Coach [Rob] Sale, kind of helped me realize that I had the potential and talent to [get drafted],” Mitchell said. “Probably sophomore year. I took a big step after freshman year. Started having the picture down the road that I can definitely do this. Senior year [it] kind of became a reality. Agents started calling you. You started reading about yourself a little bit, but it’s surreal.”

Sale coached the New York Giants offensive line last year and is now the offensive coordinator at Florida.

Mitchell participated in the Senior Bowl earlier this year. He said it helped him realize that he can play at the next level.

“At that level, it’s just a speed adjustment,” Mitchell said. “You know, everybody’s bigger, faster, stronger.”

NFL.com ranks Mitchell as the ninth-best offensive tackle in the draft. He should be on the board when the Bears pick in the second round (39th overall and 48th) and possibly later in the third round (when the Bears pick 71st). Other tackles to watch in that area of the draft are Ohio State’s Nick Petit-Frere, Minnesota’s Daniel Faalele and Washington State’s Abraham Lucas, among others.

Prospect breakdown

Max Mitchell, OT, Louisiana

Height: 6-6

Weight: 307

College career: Mitchell was a three-year starter at Louisiana. As a senior, he played primarily at right tackle, but he has experience on the right and left sides. He was a first-team All-Sun Belt performer in 2021 and a third-team AP All-American. He impressed his Louisiana coaches with his toughness and leadership ability. He’s not the biggest tackle, and he said at the combine that he wants to get up to about 315 pounds.

They said it: “[Teams] definitely want versatility. Yeah, it’s definitely on the table. They’ve asked me kind of what’s comfortable, but at the end of the day, it’s what they want you to play.” –Max Mitchell on playing right tackle vs. left tackle.

Draft projection: 2nd-3rd round

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for Shaw Media. He also contributes to high school football coverage at Friday Night Drive. Sean has covered various sports at the amateur, college and professional levels since 2012. He joined Shaw Media in 2016.