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What Can Detroit Lions Expect from TE James Mitchell

Detroit Lions rookie tight end James Mitchell should be a player to watch at training camp.

Tight end James Mitchell did not take the field in workouts this spring, as he is recovering from the torn ACL that he suffered at Virginia Tech

His injury did not preclude the Detroit Lions from investing a fifth-round pick to select him in this year's draft. 

Based on the tight ends depth chart, Mitchell could easily find himself as the Lions' No. 2 tight end prior to the conclusion of his rookie campaign in Motown. 

According to his scouting report on NFL.com, "Mitchell has the foot agility and athleticism to separate on a regular basis if he can tighten up his route running and play closer to his top speed. He's capable of attacking the seams and is talented with the ball in his hands when he has run-after-catch opportunities. As a run blocker, Mitchell puts in adequate effort but his man ends up near the action or making a play on too many snaps. He has the size to play in-line but might be best suited in a role as a pass-catching H-back."

Heading into training camp, the Lions have several tight ends battling for roster spots, including veteran Devin Funchess, Garrett Griffin, Brock Wright and Shane Zylstra. 

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It is expected that Mitchell will be among the tight ends who eventually earn a roster spot when the final 53-man roster is established. 

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"I can’t say enough good things about James so far. He’s done a phenomenal job in what we’ve asked him to do, and really that’s in rehab and in the classroom. He takes it upon himself," Lions tight ends coach Tanner Engstrand explained to reporters. "He’s doing a really nice job of learning the offense in a couple different areas and just trying not to fall behind mentally, which can be easy when you’re not getting those physical reps.

"So he’s doing a really nice job and then you go back and watch his tape and shoot man, the guy just, he averages a ton of yards per catch in college and so he’s shown some of those abilities and he’s shown the ability to block on the perimeter or running some different zone scheme type of plays and be effective in the run game, too. So we’re excited to get him out here in training camp and see what he’s got."