The Baltimore Ravens are going to need to address cornerback in the 2023 NFL draft. One name to keep an eye on is Northwestern cornerback Cameron Mitchell. Mitchell is entering the NFL as a redshirt Junior, so he has some buzz to leave with eligibility. What does he bring to the NFL, and should the Baltimore Ravens be interested?
Baltimore Ravens Draft Profile: Cameron Mitchell
Cameron Mitchell did not play much as a redshirt freshman but broke out in 2021 as a sophomore. He had four pass breakups but notably had 13 run stops. He followed that up with 15 run stops in 2022 to go with an interception and seven pass breakups. Mitchell has 1,667 snaps with 812 in coverage.
At Northwestern he played almost primarily zone coverage, and while he played in the slot for parts of his 2020 season, he was an outside cornerback the last two seasons, typically playing just one side.
He is about average. His length is just a tick below average, which is not favorable, but can still allow him to play on the outside. His speed is good, but the 10-yard split will keep teams interested.
How Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell translates to the NFL
As noted he is a primary zone cornerback and does not have much experience following wide receivers around. He is used to playing off-coverage on his side of the field and crashing down on the football.
One of the best traits that Mitchell brings is his run defense. It showed up in the stats and shows up on video as well.
Because of his average length, zone instincts, and run defense, there may be a spot for him in the NFL in the slot. However, he spent his career on the outside.
There are going to be questions because he will have to play man coverage at some point, and that is where you could see some of his issues. He does not transition or flip his hips well, or at least is not experienced at that level. For now, he should be viewed as a physical depth cornerback who can defend the run and may be able to get looks in and out of the slot.
NFL Comparison for Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell
The best NFL comparison for Cameron Mitchell would be Steven Nelson. They have physical similarities.
Steven Nelson had a similar profile coming into the NFL in that he was a zone cornerback, and many thought he would be a bit slow-footed to stay with bigger and stronger athletes in man. However, like Mitchell, they thought he could play the slot. Now, Nelson can move inside but mostly plays outside. He is also a great run defender, just like Mitchell.
Maybe you are not getting an elite defender in all areas, but the Chiefs, Steelers, and Eagles all got quality seasons of cornerback two play out of Steven Nelson, and you could get the same type of upside out of Cameron Mitchell.
Should Baltimore Ravens draft Cameron Mitchell?
The Baltimore Ravens obviously need a cornerback. If Cameron Mitchell is available at the right time, he makes a lot of sense. You are going to need a physical run-stopping cornerback. If he can transition into the slot, that is even better for the Ravens, who would like that type of versatility.
As noted, he does not have a sky-high ceiling, but someone like Steven Nelson was a solid third-round pick. That is about when you could see Cameron Mitchell coming off of the board. At that range, the team should be interested.