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Colts rookie Adonai Mitchell may solve red zone woes

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By: Thomas Butler-Guerrero


Adonai Mitchell emerged as the Longhorns’ red zone magnet and caught 10 passes on 15 red zone targets for 89 yards and eight touchdowns.

On Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts aimed to find a gifted playmaker to rise in critical moments when his name is called.

Colts rookie wide receiver Adonai Mitchell met with the Colts twice during the draft process, including a formal interview during the NFL Scouting combine in Indy, then after his pro day in Austin. Colts head coach Shane Steichen witnessed Mitchell’s explosive 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine and veritably banged on the table for him when he was available in the second round at No. 52 overall. The 21-year-old prospect dealt with the tantalizing process of watching 10 receivers hear their names called before him. Mitchell carried that extra motivation on his sleeve upon arrival and ultimately decided to choose No. 10 for his jersey number on the first day of Colts rookie minicamp.

Indianapolis’ new weapon may become the panacea to its emanate red zone issues. Last season, the Colts scored 28 touchdowns in 57 red zone opportunities (49%), which was the tenth-worst efficiency in the league. Only 11 of those red zone drives (19%) reached the end zone from a pass. After transferring to Texas, Mitchell emerged as the Longhorns’ red zone magnet and caught 10 passes on 15 red zone targets for 89 yards and eight touchdowns. Every pass Mitchell caught in the red zone during his college career moved the sticks for a first down and eight of his Big 12 conference-leading 11 touchdowns in 2023 were inside the red zone.

“At this point, it’s just a matter of taking my game to that next level and just adding on to the different things that I do well and ultimately just being the best I can be,” Mitchell told reporters during rookie minicamp.

Big time players, make big time plays and the moment never seems to get too big for Mitchell. He is competitive, but not someone who demands all of the targets, evidenced by his career playing alongside teammates George Pickens, Brock Bowers, or Xavier Worthy. The natural burner has proven he can take his game to the next level on the biggest stage against the best competition. Mitchell brings championship-caliber experience inside the Colts locker room and has a tremendous opportunity to earn a significant role in Steichen’s offense. He advanced to the College Football Playoff in all three years and caught five touchdowns in five playoff games.

Millions will spend the final hours of Wednesday night dissecting their favorite teams’ opponents, prophesying wins and limiting losses months before the regular season begins. Despite playing roughly 11 quarters of football last season, Anthony Richardson enters his second campaign with his ceiling in another stratosphere. Mitchell thrived against the competition at rookie minicamp, demonstrating elite separation at the top of his routes and breakaway speed with the ball in his hands. His ability to disguise his route tree and haul in contested catches in traffic will create a dangerous gadget for the Colts franchise quarterback.

Originally posted on Stampede Blue – All Posts