- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
One of the most memorable moments of the first day of the NFL draft was Mel Kiper Jr. criticizing Oakland's decision to draft Ohio University safety Mike Mitchell in the second round.
Kiper said Mitchell was a free-agent prospect. Backing up Kiper's opinion, two teams that I talked to said they did not have Mitchell on their draft board. Mitchell wasn't invited to the NFL combine.
Still, Kiper's words will be long remembered by Mitchell.
"Yes, I heard them," Mitchell, a well-spoken young man, said Sunday. "That's OK. Mel Kiper has his opinion and I respect it. But what does it mean? My 9-year-old nephew can watch film and make an opinion. ... I think I value the opinion of scouts who actually get paid to make their opinions. All I know is the Oakland Raiders made me their second-round pick and I'm determined to make Mr. [Al] Davis know he made a fine pick."
Mitchell said he'll keep Kiper's comments close to him for the rest of his career. In fact, Mitchell said he is in the process of getting a picture of Kiper. Mitchell plans to decorate his Oakland locker with it.
"It will carry me through my career," Mitchell said. "It will serve as motivation for me."
Mitchell said he awoke Saturday thinking he would be taken within the first four rounds. He started to get excited when his agent received a call from Chicago telling him he may be taken at No. 49. The Raiders took Mitchell at No. 47. The Chicago Tribune reports the Bears were hot on Mitchell.
"I guess Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith were wrong about me, too," Mitchell said.
Mitchell got on the radar of NFL teams after a strong Pro Day workout this spring. Game film showed that the speedy Mitchell is also a ferocious hitter.
"I think I opened some eyes," Mitchell said. "The bottom line is I'm an Oakland Raider and I was taken in the second round. It is now all up to me. Whatever everyone has to say doesn't matter."
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1dEric D. Williams