The New England Patriots have found a little offensive juice in the wakes of crucial injures to tight end Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. Rookie wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell out of Georgia has been scorching hot over the team’s previous four games after beginning the year as an afterthought in the Patriots’ passing game.
The turnaround is far from a first for Mitchell. The wideout has been overcoming hurdles his entire life, as WEEI’s Ryan Hannable detailed in a nice long feature on Monday.
Mitchell famously authored and published a children’s book despite struggling with reading comprehension as a child, which forced him enrolled in classes two grades behind during high school.
Then, when he tore his ACL during his junior 2013 season at Georgia, Mitchell used the rehab time not only to repair his body but to advance his reading skills and join a book club. That time is ultimately what inspired Mitchell to write “The Magician’s Hat.” And Mitchell of course returned from that ACL injury to be named an offensive captain as a red-shirt senior and tally 58 catches for 865 yards and five touchdowns. The production landed him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft when New England selected him.
True to his story, Mitchell was then forced to miss a bevy of time during the preseason, dislocating his elbow in the Patriots’ first preseason game. Mitchell managed to fight back onto the field for opening day, but never caught more than 2 balls in a game during New England’s first 7 contests this year.
Now, Mitchell has 18 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns over the team’s last 4 games.
“He’s got great hands, really big hands for a receiver — kind of like Gronk,” Tom Brady said on Kirk & Callahan recently. “Malcolm has such confidence in his hands and it’s great for run after catch because the ball never gets to your body and slows you down. You can really snatch the ball away from defensive backs.”
The Patriots will need a big performance from Mitchell in Week 14, with a tough matchup against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.