Originally billed as a 218 lb back, Elijah Mitchell came into his pro day at 201 lbs – a significant difference as a running back. The weight will make some teams question if he can carry a full workload. However, the lite production and athletic testing show he has the potential to do so.
His pro day was extremely positive, where Mitchell ran a 4.35 forty-yard dash while showing elite quickness and explosive testing numbers. Above all, on tape two elements show up and will be his strengths in the NFL. First is his contact balance mixed with his elusiveness are exceptional and forces defenders to wrap up and most times meant that two defenders had to tackle him. Second is the quickness and burst, both of which cause defenders to have to take better angles allowing Mitchell easy yardage.
Name: Elijah Mitchell
Position: Running Back
Weight: 201 lbs
Speed / Acceleration (8.25/10)
You can see Mitchell understands angles, and that he can cause defenders to be patient with their angles. The angles speak to his vision, but the burst becomes apparent when he hits the hole and when he gets to open space. Overall, the speed on tape is good, but did not show up at times – keep in mind he was a 15 to 20 carry guy per game. Sometimes it took a few steps to get up to full speed.
Athleticism/ Quickness/ Fluidity (8/10)
Mitchell is a fluid and quick athlete, he doesn’t have many wasted steps when going to the hole or making a cut. He’s efficient and it opened opportunities for him as he’s able to gain additional yardage.
Patience / Vison (7.5/10)
Finds the hole and hits it with a burst. Excellent one-cut runner. Mitchell set up blockers well. Uses manipulation of burst and speed to make defenders commit.
Hands / Route Running (8/10)
Mitchell did not run many downfield routes, but he did catch plenty of short-yardage passes and screens. There were some poorly thrown screens where Mitchell had to adjust his body. Overall, Mitchell showed he can catch passes and is someone who could be trusted with receiving work.
Contact Balance (8.25/10)
Not elite, but very good for his size and speed. Mixed with the speed, the balance comes into play often. Above all, he makes defenders bounce off of him, forcing defenses to gang-tackle or form tackle, both of which can be problematic. Overall this is the draw for Mitchell and is what will get him carries in the NFL.
Elusiveness flashes from time to time, and good enough to use in the open field and set up defenders. Shows elusiveness in open space really well. The mix of contact balance and elusiveness is an effective combination that will make Mitchell an effective change of pace back.
Change of direction (6.75/10)
Typically made one cut then got upfield. Can make an incoming defender miss with a sidestep. Not his best attribute as stiffness at full speed in running style prevents lateral movement.
Power/ Pushing the Pile (5/10)
Mitchell’s inability to push the pile might be his biggest fault. Doesn’t have desired strength to bully defenders. Very rarely did he fall forward, making it fair to wonder if he can be an effective short yardage back in the NFL.
Short Yardage (3.5/5)
Mitchell can make one defender bounce off of him, but anytime there is a pile he does not have the power to drive the pile. He does have a nose for the end zone though, and the vision assists him here.
Pass Blocking (3/5)
Not great, but something that can improve with experience and coaching. Senior bowl reps showed here.
Injury/ Durability (5/5)
Played for three years, with no concerns over durability or past injuries.
Good understanding of reading blocks and getting space. Great understanding of spatial awareness and where first down marker is.
The traits that stood out were the play strength, awareness of first downs/end zones markers, and an effective mix of elusiveness and contact balance. There is a role in the NFL for Mitchell, in fact, I trust Mitchell in important situations to find the first-down mark. Overall, Mitchell will be exceptional as a backup or change of pace back. He reminds me of T.J. Yeldon in that way, where he isn’t particularly elite at one thing, but does everything that a modern NFL running back needs to do, very well.
Final Grade (75.25/100): Day Three Prospect
Pro Comparison: T.J. Yeldon
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images