2024 NFL Draft: Texas WR Adonai Mitchell declares with stock rising after standout season

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Texas wide receiver Adonai Mitchell has declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, he announced Tuesday. Mitchell was one of the most impactful transfer portal additions of the 2023 cycle, regardless of position, for the Longhorns after two seasons at Georgia. He immediately grabbed a starting spot despite stepping into a loaded room that included the likes of star Xavier Worthy and veteran Jordan Whittington

Mitchell had plenty of positive things to day about both the Texas and Georgia programs.

“I’m grateful to Coach Sark and all of the University of Texas community for making me feel like a Longhorn for life in such a short time,” Mitchell’s statement read. “And to all the Bulldog fans, my amazing coaches, my brothers on the field, the legendary 2021 class. We made history together. I love all of y’all.

Even with that talent around him, Mitchell established himself as Texas’ most reliable big-play threat. He led the Big 12 with 11 touchdowns, and his 15.4 yards per reception were tops among Texas players with at least 10 catches on the year. 

Mitchell also had a reputation for stepping up in key situations. His 1-yard touchdown catch in Texas’ College Football Playoff semifinal showdown against Washington cut the Huskies’ lead to 34-28 midway through the fourth quarter. That score snapped a 20-minute scoreless streak for the Longhorns and allowed them to hang around in a game that came down to the wire. 

Mitchell had at least one touchdown catch in all five playoff games he appeared in throughout his career, dating back to his freshman season at Georgia. Two of those catches — one with 54 seconds left in last season’s semifinal against Ohio State, and the other in the fourth quarter of the 2021 national championship against Alabama — served as go-ahead touchdowns that gave the Bulldogs momentum they needed to pull out wins. 

Mitchell’s draft stock 

With the likes of Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. and LSU’s Malik Nabers, the 2024 NFL Draft class is absolutely loaded at wide receiver. But Mitchell isn’t too far down the list, and there’s a chance he hears his name called before Day 1 wraps up. He comes in at No. 30 overall, No. 6 among wide receivers, in CBS Sports’ 2024 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings. CBS Sports draft analyst Ryan Wilson has Mitchell going to the Philadelphia Eagles with the 32nd pick in his latest mock draft. 

“Mitchell, a Georgia transfer, is another in a long line of big, physical, fast, twitched-up WRs in this draft class,” Wilson wrote. “He plays mostly outside, but did work in the the slot more this season, and the thought of a WR room of A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith and Mitchell is fun to think about unless you’re one of the other three teams in the NFC East.”

Impact on Texas

Mitchell’s decision isn’t all that surprising given his current draft stock, but it still means Texas stands to lose one of its best playmakers on the perimeter. In fact, the Longhorns are going to have a lot of work to do at the wide receiver spot in the offseason. 

In addition to Mitchell, Whittington and Worthy both announced that they are entering the NFL Draft. Star tight end Ja’Tavion Sanders is off to test the professional waters as well. For those keeping score, that means Texas has to replace just over 75% of its receiving yards and touchdowns entering the 2024 season. 

There are some intriguing in-house options that will undoubtedly step into bigger roles. Johntay Cook II, who was a top-40 overall prospect and the No. 7 wide receiver in the Class of 2023, had eight catches for 136 yards as a true freshman and now stands as the most promising wideout on Texas’ current roster. 

The Longhorns also signed five-star receiver Ryan Wingo in 2024; he’ll have every opportunity to make an immediate impact. Another portal gem has been former Houston wideout Matthew Golden. The No. 6 WR in 247Sports’ transfer rankings had 988 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns in two seasons with the Cougars. 

Assuming Golden and Cook are locked in as starters, Texas still has one spot on its first-team offense to fill. The Longhorns also lost some depth to the transfer portal, so there’s some questions beyond just who takes the field first. 

 

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