Ike Taylor found out all he needed to know about Mike Mitchell on video.
It wasn’t the traditional NFL method of further review, but it sold the Steelers’ veteran cornerback on the new free-agent safety all the same.
“I remember him at Carolina,” Taylor offered upon Mitchell’s reinstatement to active duty from the physically unable to perform list. “But I really remember him at the Raiders. I used to play Madden on PlayStation 3, and the Raiders were my team because of all the speed they had and I remember Mike Mitchell and his speed.
“Then last year what he did at Carolina was good, so I’m glad we got him.”
Mitchell scribbled his name across the stat sheet last season with the Panthers when he produced career-high totals in tackles (74), solo tackles (53), interceptions (four), sacks (3.5) and forced fumbles (two), and when he tied his career high in passes defensed (five).
Veteran Lance Moore, a free-agent acquisition at wide receiver, remembers a pair of meetings against Mike Mitchell while playing for New Orleans last season, and a couple more encounters prior to that during Mitchell’s four NFL seasons in Oakland.
“He’s a good player and I’m definitely happy to have him here,” Moore said. “He has really good ball skills and he can definitely add something to this team.”
Moore’s ball-hawking history helped make him an attractive to the Steelers. But the tradition of the free safety position in Pittsburgh will demand that Mitchell also be a hitter.
“We had that from Ryan Clark for many years, being that enforcer,” veteran backup safety Will Allenobserved. “He’d get interceptions here and there, but he was a guy where you knew if a receiver came across the middle or if we needed a big hit he was the guy to do it.”
Moore maintained Mitchell can and will deliver in such instances.
“You don’t get this far if you’re not going to be ready to tackle somebody and hit somebody,” Moore said. “With him it’s not just figure out where he is so you don’t get hit by him, it’s (also) figure out where he is so he doesn’t sneak up and take one of those balls from you.”
Fourth-year cornerback Cortez Allen already appreciates Mitchell’s approach.
“Mike’s a very intelligent guy,” Allen said. “He’s always taking notes, always into it mentally. I think the transition for him as far as getting back into the swing of things will be very quick.
“He’s very professional as far as his approach to the game of football as far as learning what to do, learning what everybody else does, learning why. Just the way he studies is very professional. That’s going to be a big bonus for us.”
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