New England Patriots rookie WR Malcolm Mitchell collected 6 receptions for 70 yards in Super Bowl LI, with many of those catches coming at crucial times during the comeback. Mitchell has already been lauded for his ability to contribute to the offense as a rookie and his Super Bowl was no different.
In fact, Mitchell’s Super Bowl might have been the best day for an offensive rookie skill player in franchise history and when you factor in the stage on which he performed, it easily eclipses the rest.
No Patriots rookie has recorded more than 70 receiving yards in franchise history. WR Terry Glenn held the previous record with 69 yards in the divisional round of the 1996 season. Mitchell is the new record holder.
Mitchell’s 6 receptions tied WR Julian Edelman for the most in franchise history by a rookie; Edelman recorded his record during the Patriots wild card loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.
RB Derrick Cullors holds the franchise record for most yards from scrimmage in a single game by a Patriots rookie with 86 yards during wild card week of the 1997. Mitchell’s 70 yards ranks second in franchise history.
And while Mitchell didn’t record a touchdown, only three Patriots rookies have scored in the postseason: Edelman scored two touchdowns against the Ravens; WR Bethel Johnson scored one against the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the 2003 playoffs; and RB Robert Edwards score one against the Jacksonville Jaguars during wild card weekend of the 1998 season.
Mitchell stood out for his ability to earn time on the field as a rookie. Some players- like RB Laurence Maroney, WR Julian Edelman, and WR Aaron Dobson- only played as heavily as rookies because of injuries or extenuating circumstances to other players. But Mitchell beat out WR Danny Amendola for time on the field and held on to his starting job despite a strong showing by WR Michael Floyd in the season finale.
The Patriots dislike constructing their roster in a way that would require a rookie to start right away. Even first round rookies are expected to play in a rotation early in their careers before assuming the full time job.
Mitchell is hoping to use his Super Bowl performance as a springboard into his sophomore season where he is expected to take a major sophomore leap forward.