This* article is part of our 2010 Path to the Draft coverage presented by FOX Sports Houston*.
The Texans selected Earl Mitchell in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, taking the defensive tackle from the University of Arizona with the 81st overall pick. Mitchell, who played his high school ball in the Houston area at Galena Park North Shore, switched positions two years ago ago from H-Back to defensive tackle.
Mitchell was in Houston Friday night watching the draft at home, and he drove to Reliant Stadium along with his mother and sister after he was selected. He was all smiles during his time with the media at a Friday night press conference.
"It's crazy," Mitchell said. "It's a surreal experience, and it's just been a dream of mine just to play professional football. It's a good feeling. I'm excited."
As a senior for the Wildcats in 2009, he notched 6.5 sacks and also led the team with 12.5 tackles for a loss. Mitchell was a second-team All-Pac 10 performer.
"I bring a lot of versatility and athleticism," he said. "I just have a lot of knowledge because I played offense. I just bring a lot of things to the table just because of my knowledge of the game."
Mitchell, who grew up as an Oilers fan, started 37 of 49 games at Arizona. He had 25 starts at defensive tackle. He originally went to Arizona as a tight end, and he also played fullback at the school.
As a sophomore in 2007, Mitchell was moved to H-back before switching over to defensive tackle in 2008. A co-captain for Arizona in 2009, Mitchell thinks his agility and quick feet will help the Texans' pass rush.
"I come here to produce," Mitchell said. "This is a pass-first league. I'm going to come in and try to learn from those guys on becoming better as a pass rusher and develop my game on being a professional."
When Mitchell suits up as a member of the Texans at Reliant Stadium, it will be a day of firsts, in more ways than one.
"I've never been to an NFL game," Mitchell said. "The first game will be in uniform."