The Miami Dolphins made an under-the-radar acquisition this week when they signed free-agent Earl Mitchell to a four-year, $16 million contract. The former Houston Texans defensive tackle is not a household name to many NFL fans. But it was evident the Dolphins had Mitchell high on their wish list.
Another person who is high on Mitchell is former Indianapolis Colts general manager and ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian. Mitchell was one of just six free agents who received an "A" grade from the veteran talent evaluator.
Here was Polian’s take on Mitchell:
"Mitchell has become a real inside force and one of the most productive penetrators in the NFL at generating consistent inside pressure. He is a much better athlete than most guys who play his position, and his effort is outstanding. He is a one-gap penetrator with good quickness and really works to finish the play. He is young and will only get better."
Mitchell explained Wednesday that he is happy to come to Miami and play in a 4-3 defense. He was a 3-4 nose tackle with the Texans, where he didn’t get an opportunity to rush the passer. Mitchell had just 1.5 sacks in 2013.
Mitchell believes he is capable of putting up bigger numbers in 2014. He will get more opportunities to be disruptive, collapse the pocket and get to the quarterback in Miami’s system under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.