Colts general manager Chris Ballard vehemently defended second-round pick Adonai Mitchell against anonymous criticism of his character Friday night, calling reports of poor pre-draft interviews “bullshit.”

Mitchell, the former Georgia and Texas wide receiver, was picked by the Indianapolis Colts with the 52nd overall selection in Friday night’s second round. There were many who thought Mitchell could be a first-round choice after an 11-touchdown season with the Longhorns, but he was forced to sit as a mere spectator on Thursday night as players like Ricky Pearsall and Xavier Legette closed out the opening round.

As Thursday night wound down, reports began to emerge that Mitchell had interviewed poorly and teams felt he was a difficult person to assess. Ballard passionately pushed back against those narratives.

“I read some of the bullshit that was said,” Ballard said. “Just the typical f—ing… Excuse my language. Our typical league — unnamed sources, bad interviews. That’s such bullshit. I mean, it f—ing is. It’s bullshit. Put your name on it. I’m tired of it.

“We tear these young men down. These are 21-, 22-year-old men. And can people out there tell me they’re perfect in their lives? It’s crap. This is a good kid. And for those reports to come out, it’s bullshit. I’m sorry. I apologize for the language. I don’t, but I do.”

Mitchell was the 11th receiver taken in the draft. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler had him ranked as the No. 6 receiver in the class, 1 spot ahead of Keon Coleman, who was taken 19 picks before him. Brugler had Mitchell ahead of Pearsall, ahead of Texas teammate and first-rounder Xavier Worthy, and well ahead of Legette.

Mitchell told reporters Friday night that he was “pissed” about dropping in the draft. Ballard believes the response will be a positive one. To his credit, Mitchell echoed the same sentiment.

“I understand it is just the way things go. So I’m just ready to work,” he said. “At the end of the day, people have been chosen before me. That’s just the reality of it, and my job now is to make them pay and bring the best version of me every day to the Indianapolis Colts.”

Mitchell caught 55 balls for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2023. Before transferring to UT, he spent 2 years at Georgia, where he caught 38 balls for 560 yards and 7 touchdowns — including touchdown catches in both the 2021 and 2022 College Football Playoff National Championship games.

With the Colts, he fits in nicely alongside No. 1 receiver Michael Pittman Jr. and slot receiver Josh Downs. Pittman had 109 receptions and 1,152 yards last season while Downs had 68 catches for 771 yards. If Mitchell can step in as a field-stretching wideout, it’ll make life much easier on Pittman underneath.

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