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Mitchell Tinsley Commanders

Why Mitchell Tinsley Can Make Commanders Roster As UDFA

  • Justin Melo
  • May 24, 2023
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The Washington Commanders agreed to terms with 12 undrafted free agents at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. The standout among the group? Former Penn State wide receiver Mitchell Tinsley. Tinsley finds himself in an excellent position to make the Commanders’ initial 53-man roster.

New assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is searching for playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. As the new play-caller, Bieniemy will make changes to Washington’s offense. He’ll likely be impressed by what Tinsley offers.

Tinsley is a big-time run-after-catch threat in the open field. Bieniemy often stressed opposing defenses by placing the ball in the hands of his elite athletes throughout a stint as Andy Reid’s offensive coordinator with the Kansas City Chiefs. Tinsley is capable of making similar dynamic plays.

Tinsley is an outstanding route-runner in all phases. He’s a technically-gifted receiver that places emphasis on his fundamentals. Bieniemy will appreciate Tinsley’s football IQ and attention to detail.

It was a winding journey for Tinsley, who enjoyed tenures at three different programs. He was successful at every stop. In 2021, Tinsley recorded career-highs in receptions (87), receiving yards (1,402), and touchdowns (14) while thriving alongside Bailey Zappe at Western Kentucky. Tinsley then proved he could play against better competition after transferring to Penn State ahead of 2022. Tinsley wasn’t the Nittany Lions’ go-to receiver, but he still totaled 51 receptions for 577 yards and five touchdowns.

The Commanders have a clear top three at receiver. Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Curtis Samuel will continue dominating snap counts in three-receiver sets. There’s a sizable gap on Washington’s depth chart separating those three from the remaining pack. A third-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, Dyami Brown recorded just five receptions last season. Brown hasn’t taken the expected steps forward. He enters training camp firmly on the roster bubble. It’s also a crucial summer for 2021 seventh-round pick Dax Milne. Tinsley will compete for their spot.

Commanders general manager Martin Mayhew recognized the need for better depth at the position. It’s precisely why Mayhew aggressively targeted Tinsley’s signature at the conclusion of the 2023 NFL Draft. Mayhew signed Tinsley to a deal that included a $120,000 base salary guarantee and a $15,000 signing bonus, according to multiple reports. It signals how much interest Washington had in Tinsley’s services.

The 6-foot, 199-pound Tinsley put forth some impressive numbers between the NFL Scouting Combine and Penn State’s Pro Day. Tinsley’s best result was an elite 6.70 in the 3-cone. A 4.21 short shuttle was also a favorable result. Tinsley’s 40-yard dash time of 4.60 left plenty to be desired, but it was somewhat rescued by a 1.57 10-yard split. Athletic comparisons include Green Bay Packers rookie success story Romeo Doubs, per MockDraftable.

Special teams is often the quickest pathway for an undrafted rookie to prove he belongs on the field. Tinsley returned punts at both Western Kentucky and Penn State. He also played on coverage units. A strong special teams background increases Tinsley’s chances of impressing Washington’s coaching staff.

Tinsley can add quality depth to a transitioning offense and Bieniemy is going to foster an equal-opportunity environment. Don’t act surprised when Tinsley competes for the No. 4 receiver role in Washington.

Written By

Justin Melo