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Elijah Mitchell was born on May 2, 1998, in Erath, Louisiana. He is a running back for the San Francisco 49ers. Mitchell is the son of Milton and Penny Mitchell. He majored in general studies at Louisiana State University. Elijah Mitchell was a standout high school running back who attended Erath High School in Louisiana. In his senior season, he rushed for 1,903 yards and 28 touchdowns. He finished his high school career with 457 carries for 4,045 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. The 24-year-old currently plays for the San Francisco 49ers and weighs in at 5’10” and 200lbs. Elijah has four brothers, Jeremiah, Davonte Augustus, Claude Augustus, and Marquis Augustus. His cousin, Josh Whitney, is also a professional football player.
Mitchell’s Collegiate Career
Mitchell began playing for the Ragin Cajuns in 2017 and appeared in five games. Halfway through the season, he suffered an injury playing against Idaho. That season he finished fifth on his team in running yards, totaling 273. His first collegiate career season was successful, with his first reception of 19 yards and his first receiving touchdown. He gained 84 yards on eight carries, scored a rushing touchdown, and finished with 103 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns at Tulsa.
In 2018 Mitchell dominated his sophomore year starting 13 games and scoring 16 total touchdowns that year (the most on his team). During Lafayette’s game against Texas State, Mitchell rushed 191 yards, the second highest single-game rushing total in his conference.
In Elijah’s third year playing for the Ragin Cajuns, he played in all 14 games in the season and led the team with 1,147 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. His college career truly started to blossom in his third year. Mitchell caught ten passes that season with 70 yards and one touchdown. He finished his 2019 season by becoming the sixth-ever player on the Ragin Cajuns to rush over 1,000 yards in a single season. In 2019 he won the Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference honors and the First Team All-Louisiana.
During his senior year, Elijah was Louisiana’s top running back carrying the ball 141 times for 878 yards and eight touchdowns. He played in 10 of the total 14 games. His eight rushing touchdowns landed him in the fifth spot in the Sun Belt and one of five Ragin Cajuns in the program’s history. He finished his collegiate career with 41 rushing touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. During the game that Louisiana played against UTSA, he carried the ball for 127 yards, the most carried by a Ragin Cajun in the college’s football program’s history. Mitchell was named the MVP of the 2020 SERVPRO First Responder Bowl for his successes in 2020.
The San Francisco 49ers
In 2020, Mitchell was drafted by the 49ers in the sixth round pick of the NFL draft. Kyle Shanahan has been the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers since 2017, and in that time, he’s never had a true workhorse back. His leading rushers have been Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, and Raheem Mostert, all of whom have had their moments but none of whom have been able to shoulder the load for more than one season. Enter RB Elijah Mitchell, who showed promise as a rookie in 2021 and could be poised for a second-season breakout.
A former undrafted free agent, Mitchell impressed as a rookie in 2021, rushing for 632 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has never had an actual bell cow back in his offense, but Mitchell appears to have the skillset and opportunity to change that. With an entire offseason to prepare as the starter, Mitchell could be in line for a breakout campaign in 2022.
He is expected to continue to be a key player on the 49ers’ offense in the future.
Fantasy Draft Picks
The San Francisco 49ers have several talented players who could be in line for their first Pro Bowl selection in 2022, but Elijah Mitchell might stand out as having the best chance. As a member of the 49ers, Mitchell has shown his talent and potential as a running back. The key for Mitchell will be staying healthy and proving that he can handle a heavy workload. If he can stay healthy, he has a good chance of becoming the first 49er to make the Pro Bowl under Shanahan.
Mitchell is a bit of a fantasy enigma; he was clearly the best running back the Niners had last season and showed immense potential but is currently going in the 6th-7th round in early drafts.
Here are a few reasons why that is:
- Kyle Shannahan – Shannahan is a creative offensive mind but frequently relies on multiple running backs vs. one in a bell cow role, the fear of a committee is pushing Mitchell down draft boards
- Trey Lance – Unlike last season with Jimmy Garopollo, Lance will be starting. He’ll likely eat into some of Mitchell’s production on the ground as a mobile QB.
- Draft Capital – Talent doesn’t always win out in the NFL. Draft capital matters, and Mitchell was only a sixth-round pick. Last year’s second-rounder Trey Sermon and newcomer Tryion Davis-Price was a 3rd rounder this offseason. Drafing a back that high doesn’t spell confidence in the incumbent starter.
So, should you draft Mitchell? 100%. Yes, he’s going in the vaunted running back ‘dead-zone,’ but the upside for him in this offense is tremendous when you consider his price; if he’s the lead back, he’s a league winner.
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