Cue CB1: Toledo’s Quinyon Mitchell ‘can hang with big dawgs’

INDIANAPOLIS — Toledo cornerback Quinyon Mitchell might run out of boxes to check before the 2024 NFL Draft arrives.

Mitchell dominated in the MAC with six interceptions and 45 pass breakups the past two seasons with the Rockets. He caught the attention of Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy, who had other top-ranked draft prospects at the position turn down invitations to the annual pre-draft showcase in Mobile.

Mitchell said he went to the Senior Bowl to compete and with a point to prove.

“That I can hang with the big dawgs,” Mitchell said.

He’s rocketing up draft boards based on his dominance in practices and drills at the Senior Bowl, where Mitchell wanted to show his level of competition in college wasn’t a cap on his ability or potential as a prospect.

Mitchell, who said he watches Chiefs corner Trent McDuffie and the Eagles’ Darius Slay, brought the same mindset to Indianapolis.

“The ball will get you paid,” Mitchell said of what he learned in Mobile. “At the Senior Bowl, I learned every ball that’s thrown in the air is worth $2.5 million. I’m just trying to get that money.”

Speed testing won’t be a problem. Mitchell was GPS chip-timed at the same top speed as Miami Dolphins All-Pro Tyreek Hill, 23 miles per hour. NFL Next Gen Stats uses the same technology and tracked only three scoring plays over 22 mph in the 2023 regular season: Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (22.23, Week 13), Bengals running back Chase Brown (22.05 mph, Week 14) and Hill (22.01 mph, Week 5).

The cornerback draft board is stacked with big names, headlined by Alabama’s starting tandem of Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold. But recruiting rankings are meaningless at the moment.

Toledo played primarily off-man coverage, freeing Mitchell to let his ball-hawk ability fly.

By the middle of the 2023 season, prominent media draft analysts began surfacing Mitchell’s name as a potential second-round cornerback. As of the start of the Scouting Combine this week, The Athletic and NFL Network rated Mitchell as a top-15 pick.

At 193 pounds he ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds at a school timing day last spring. Mitchell said he has been timed even faster since and has a track background.

“I didn’t come here to be mediocre. I came here to break records,” he said Thursday.

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