2021 NFL Draft Profile: Elijah Mitchell

Elijah Mitchell NFL Draft

Elijah Mitchell NFL Draft Overview

Position: Running Back
Height:
5’11”
Weight:
215 pounds
School:
University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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Elijah Mitchell 2021 NFL Draft Player Profile

Overview

There are not a lot of dominant players from the Sun Belt Conference that find their names called in the NFL Draft. Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns running back Elijah Mitchell is a special playmaker as he was selected second-team All-Sun Belt twice (2018 & 2019) and first-team All-Sun Belt (2020). Mitchell leaves as one of the most achieved players in program history and now prepares for a potential NFL career. In his freshman year at Louisiana, Mitchell has played in five games as he rushed for 257 yards and four touchdowns on 42 rushes. He started all 13 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns in his sophomore season in 2018. That season, Mitchell rushed for 985 yards and 13 touchdowns on 146 carries. This was his best season as a receiver in the backfield for Louisiana as he caught 20 receptions for 349 yards and three receptions.

During his time with the Ragin’ Cajuns, Mitchell has played in a high-caliber offense that used multiple playmakers in the backfield. Mitchell has shared the backfield with Raymond Calais for two seasons and Trey Ragas and dual-threat quarterback Levi Lewis for three seasons. As a result, Mitchell played in 14 games for Louisiana while starting in three of them. He rushed for his career-high 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns on 198 carries. This past season, Mitchell played in 10 games for the Ragin’ Cajuns while starting in all but one. Mitchell rushed for 878 and eight touchdowns on 141 carries in his last season. Mitchell finished his Ragin Cajuns career rushing for 3,276 yards and 41 touchdowns on 527 carries as well as catching 49 receptions for 597 yards and five touchdowns. He finished as Louisiana’s sixth all-time rusher in career rushing yards.

 Strengths

  • Has great bursts once past the first line of defense;
  • Highly athletic, elusive, and strong to lose defenders for extra yards;
  • Reliable receiver in the backfield;
  • Highly productive runner from several angles;
  • Good vision and instincts;
  • Has a bigger size and frame than most of the other running backs in this draft.

 Weaknesses

  • Lack explosive and top-speed as a running back;
  • Often dances in the backfield when waiting for his blocks to unfold;
  • Not physical in pass protection schemes;
  • Doesn’t possess some versatility in bursting through the tackles;
  • Experiences tightness in hips which restricts him from cuts;
  • Lacks quick speed on outside runs.

 NFL Comparisons: Le’Veon Bell

Teams With Need At The Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo BillsDenver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Football Team

Projection: Late Sixth Round to Seventh Round

Bottom Line on Elijah Mitchell

Coming from a smaller school, NFL teams want to see a player who is completely dominant in their conference. Mitchell is a rare exception as he is a dominant productive running back for the Ragin’ Cajuns but he came from an offense that had many players share the backfield. His impact on the field, productivity, skills, and potential all make Mitchell a player to draft in the 2021 NFL Draft. While he is not a running back that will be a day one starter or even eventually a starter in the league, he does possess the talent and potential for an NFL offense that needs strong contributors. Mitchell has a good blend of agility and power to be a tough running back in the inside runs. He can also contribute significantly in the passing plays as an extra receiver in the backfield.

His biggest downfalls as a running back are his habits of dancing in the backfield that can cause a loss of yards on the play and the lack of his quick speed. Due to the need for a versatile, flex running back, an NFL team will rely on his talents to contribute to a fast-paced offense with a focus on the passing game. A team like the Kansas City Chiefs or New Orleans Saints are an example of a team that relies on their running backs as an extra receiver in the backfield. Mitchell will also provide depth at the main running back position.

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