NFL.com's Kevin Patra took Bucky Brook's quote to the house in the second half of his article this afternoon. Then he Forrest Gump'd it.* If we're writing for views and clicks, I would have titled this piece, Matt Elam: next Ed Reed. Ah, but I didn't.
Here's what Brooks said:
"They did a lot of blitzing with Mike Mitchell. ... I believe he will be the new Troy Polamalu in terms of the way that they use him. Watch him near the box, watch him coming down making big hits in the passing game. And maybe Troy goes to the deep middle and doesn't play the role that he customarily plays."
Brooks envisions Mitchell as the "new Troy Polamalu in terms of the way that they [defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau] use him."
Uses him. Not actually be the next, mercurial, spellbinding, electrifying game-changing beast who played in the Steelers backend for eleven seasons.
Calf injuries, shoulder strains, and various reasons have blockaded Mitchell from starting games in his five-year career. And the absence of game experience is huge. Mitchell sat behind Panthers free safety Charles Godfrey before CG injured his right Achilles tendon in Week 2 of last season. With the opportunity, Mitchell enjoyed himself to a breakout campaign, registering 3.5 sacks, 66 tackles and 4 interceptions.
Before his 14 starts last year, Mitchell only started in 9 games over a four-year span. Carolina signed safety Thomas DeCoud in the offseason (wonder why) and voila, Mitchell is drawing in comparisons to the legendary TP.
The newly-signed free safety's experience is minuscule -- which is why Baltimore Ravens fans could brush their shoulders off because ... a Mitchell isn't one of the team's 99 problems.
Sophomore Matt Elam is still the best up-and-coming safety in the AFC North.
*Took it too far.