Adonai Mitchell 2024 Fantasy Outlook and Dynasty Value: How Will AD Fit in the Colts’ Offense?

How will AD Mitchell's draft day slide impact his fantasy outlook?

In a wide receiver-heavy draft class like this year’s, one or two projected first-round picks will inevitably drop to the second day, as only so many teams need a receiver that justifies a top pick. One of this year’s primary fallers was Adonai Mitchell from Texas, who was projected as a first-rounder for months but ultimately fell to pick No. 52 with the Colts.

Mitchell burst on the scene for the Longhorns last year after transferring from Georgia following two National Championship seasons with the Bulldogs. He caught 55 passes for 845 yards, finishing second on the team to Xavier Worthy in both categories, and led the team with 11 touchdown receptions, which tied him for 11th in the country in TD catches.

Mitchell is projected to start as a wide receiver alongside Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs, but his impact in 2024 and beyond will depend on his willingness to shed some of the downsides that caused him to fall into the second round last month.

ADONAI MITCHELL COULD BECOME A FAVORITE TARGET FOR ANTHONY RICHARDSON

At 6’2″, Mitchell gives the Colts a second big wideout to pair alongside 6’4″ Michael Pittman, Jr. — although the rookie is lankier, coming in at 205 pounds, almost 20 pounds lighter than Pittman. Mitchell towers over Indy’s second-leading receiver from last year, Josh Downs, who’s listed at just 5’9″.

The Colts lined up in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WR) at the 3rd-highest rate of any team last year at 77%, so Mitchell should get plenty of snaps right off the bat, especially with most of Indy’s offensive coaching staff from last year returning in head coach Shane Steichen’s second season.

The only newcomer to the offensive coaching staff, passing game coordinator Alex Tanney, comes over from a role as QB coach with the Eagles, who lined up in 11 personnel on almost 70% of snaps last season.

It’s obviously still very early in OTAs, and practice clips have misled us plenty of times in the past, but it appears that Mitchell and second-year QB Anthony Richardson are already building a rapport.

Unfortunately, this play outlines a major concern in Mitchell’s scouting report: he often cradles catches and struggles to high-point balls with his hands instead of his body. Tendencies like this can be overlooked to a certain extent in the college game, but they can spell trouble at the next level.

Shane Steichen seems unfazed by this discourse around Mitchell’s hands, describing him as “explosive” and saying:

“You can see the size. You can see the speed – hands, great hands. Even watching him in individual [drills] with Reggie [Wayne] just the way he plucks the ball. He’s a natural pass catcher. Again, like we talked about after the draft, he can separate at the top [of routes]. He ran some good routes here in seven-on-seven. He had some one-on-one winners which was good to see.”

Aside from this physical shortcoming, most of the other knocks on Mitchell’s pre-draft scouting report were effort-based: lack of aggression in run blocking, losing out on contested catches to smaller defenders, and not always showing up against lesser opponents.

If you’re a glass-half-full guy like me, you can look at the final point in a different light, as Mitchell’s best games at Texas last year were against Alabama, Kansas, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State — four of the five ranked opponents the Longhorns faced last season.

While run blocking doesn’t matter for fantasy purposes, Mitchell will need to step up in that aspect of the game to keep his spot on the field, as the Colts ran out of their three receiver sets 36% of the time last year, more than most teams who use 11 personnel as often as Indianapolis.

Provided he performs in camp and lands a starting job, the last remaining major factor in Mitchell’s 2024 outlook is his quarterback’s health. Richardson missed 13 games last season due to a concussion and an AC joint sprain that ended his season in October. Richardson is a big, athletic QB who can make plays with his legs, but he’ll need to figure out how to remain healthy to help Mitchell reach his full potential in year one.

If Richardson does go down again, Indy’s backup as of today is none other than Joe Flacco, who experienced a career resurgence last year after signing with the Browns late in the season and was actually a godsend for Amari Cooper‘s fantasy value down the stretch. So even if Richardson misses time, Mitchell and the Colts offense could manage to stay afloat.

ADONAI MITCHELL 2024 FANTASY OUTLOOK & DYNASTY VALUE

Although I’m sure he would’ve preferred being a first round pick and cashing the signing bonus that comes with it, Adonai Mitchell landed in a solid spot as the assumed WR2/3 in an up and coming offense with a young, talented QB and an offensive-minded head coach. Lining up next to a talented wideout like Pittman should leave Mitchell with desirable matchups against lesser corners, which could bolster his outlook in his rookie year and beyond.

From a dynasty perspective, Pittman is only 26 and just signed a three-year extension with the Colts, so Mitchell likely won’t have an opportunity to claim the WR1 role with Indy until at least the final season of his rookie deal. Regardless, he and Pittman could be a lethal 1-2 punch that feeds off each other’s production, and both put up huge numbers as a result. Mitchell clearly still has some skills to polish, but he’s in the right place with the right coaching staff to become a solid weapon early in his career.

The Wolf seems hesitant to put too much stock into Mitchell just yet, ranking him as his WR65 on his 2024 Fantasy Rankings and Big Board heading into summer workouts. This puts him one spot below fellow rookie Ricky Pearsall and one spot ahead of teammate Josh Downs. He’s at the top of Tier 4 at WR9 in The Wolf’s Rookie Dynasty Rankings, again one spot below Pearsall.

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
LinkedIn

Related Posts