football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: RB Elijah Mitchell

  • The Draft Network
  • January 8, 2021
  • Share


Elijah Mitchell fits the profile of a late-round back for the NFL draft who ends up finding a firm role in an offensive backfield and commands a share of carries throughout the course of his rookie contract. Mitchell has a dense frame, plenty of contact balance, and soft hands, all of which added up to a highly productive career with the Ragin’ Cajuns. Mitchell accounted for 46 total touchdowns and 3,864 yards from scrimmage over his four years with the program, all while splitting time with backs like Trey Ragas and Raymond Calais. Mitchell has upside to become a more well rounded and prominent threat for teams who aren’t looking for explosiveness from their backs out of the backfield given his frame and pass-catching skills—but because of his athletic profile, he is likely to be a victim of positional value and a lack of priority via the NFL draft process. Mitchell’s floor is as a bottom of the roster back and if he lands with a team filled with capable ball-carriers, he may end up bouncing around the league before falling into a depth role. 

Ideal Role: Early-down option in running back by committee stable.

Scheme Fit: Inside and wide zone concepts.


Written by: Kyle Crabbs

Games watched: Iowa State (2020), Georgia State (2020), Appalachian State (2020), UTSA (2020)

Best Game Studied: UTSA (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Iowa State (2020)

Vision: He’s done well in zone concepts to pick his way through traffic. He's been successful pressing playside and either cutting to the perimeter or driving back inside off the hip of a blocker without getting pinballed and losing his momentum. He’s disciplined and understands when to take a net-zero instead of trying to freelance and put himself in a position to lose yards. He's more susceptible to negative plays by misjudging his pace and speed to the corner. 

Footwork: He’s calculated with his press to the LOS. He does well to not overextend himself or get eager to run into the backs of his blockers, allowing for subtle redirection and patience in keying his blocks. Shallow jump cuts are effective but he’s not overly dynamic or springy to break the angles of defenders crashing down the LOS—but if defenders are even with him, he can work out the backside with shallow adjustments. 

Contact Balance: He’s a tough pill to swallow for defensive backs and linebackers if he’s built a full head of steam. He will twist and spin out of low-cut tackle challenges and shows the grace to maintain his footing and regain forward momentum. 

Durability: He’s shouldered the majority of carries for the past several seasons, but he’s not been the featured bell cow in any stretch. He’s got the build and running style to be a “closer” though, and he should find success if he’s asked to churn through the box with the lead late in games; as he was often called upon in his role at Louisiana. 

Explosiveness: There’s not a lot of juice here in the long-distance sprints. Mitchell has adequate short-area acceleration and is quick to find daylight but his ability to break angles isn’t strong and he’s going to be reliant on power. The good news? He can be a punisher in head-up tackle challenges and has successfully flat-backed defenders trying to cut him down. 

Versatility: There’s plenty of appeal for a third-down role, but his bread and butter will be early-down carries in inside zone concepts—there, he can press the LOS patiently, find his cut, and pick up chunk yards before punishing tacklers. In a given game, you can call on him for early- or late-down reps and he’ll get the job done, even if he’s not going to be more than a cog in the wheel and not a player that will command extra attention from the defense. 

Elusiveness: His wiggle should be considered modest, but I have seen him stutter step and shake defenders in the open field. He’s much more dangerous with his power dynamics. His long-speed isn’t going to move the needle and he was caught from behind on a number of occasions after springing free into the secondary, so if you’re looking for a consistent home-run hitter, you’ve come to the wrong place. 

Ball Security: Did not see any apparent issues through the games studied. He does well to cover up the football and brace for contact and his low build helps him keep ball exposure limited as is. 

Passing Down Skills: Very limited resume as a pass-catcher, but he was more prominent here in 2020 than ever before and he did show really soft hands in the limited targets that he got. There’s more appeal for him as a pass blocker than there is for him as a receiver at this point in time and teams are likely to search for a more dynamic option to serve as their third-down pass-catcher. 

Discipline: Does well to stay on the tracks through the mesh point and press into the LOS. He won’t get deterred by early penetration and is decisive to get north in such instances of quick penetration. He’s taken the back door on a number of occasions, but only out of necessity and with over-pursuit present on the backside. He’s fairly unimaginative, so you’ll get cut and dry execution out of his press to the P.O.A. 

Prospect Comparison: Ka’Deem Carey (2014 NFL Draft, Chicago Bears)


TDN Consensus: To Be Determined

Kyle Crabbs: 69/100

Filed In

Written By

The Draft Network