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49ers make Louisiana RB Elijah Mitchell a 6th-round draft pick

May 1, 2021 at 1:05 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers selected Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell with the 10th pick (No. 194 overall) in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mitchell carried the football 141 times for 878 yards with eight rushing touchdowns while adding 16 receptions for 153 yards through 10 games as a senior in 2020, per Sports Reference. The running back's best statistical season came in 2019 when he racked up 1,147 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns on 198 carries while adding 10 receptions for 70 yards and another score.

Mitchell had 3,267 rushing yards on 527 attempts with 41 rushing touchdowns through his four collegiate seasons.

Mitchell is from Erath, LA. He earned a pre-draft grade of 5.64 from NFL.com, which equates to a "chance to make the end of the roster or practice squad," per the site's 8-point grading scale.

NFL.com projected Mitchell to be a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick.

Below is the NFL.com draft profile bio on Mitchell:

Mitchell wasn't given much credit in the recruiting rankings, but the two-star prospect has shown significant talent for his home-state Ragin' Cajuns. A Lisfranc injury limited him to five contests in 2017 (42 carries, 257 yards, 6.1 yards per carry, four touchdowns; three receptions, 25 yards, 8.3 average, one touchdown). Healthy the following fall, Mitchell earned second-team All-Sun Belt Conference accolades (146 carries, 985 yards, 6.7 yards per carry, 13 touchdowns; 20 receptions, 349 yards, 17.5 average, three touchdowns in 13 starts). He repeated those honors in 2019, rushing for a team-high 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns (198 carries, 5.8 per, also 10 receptions, 70 yards, 7.0 average, one touchdown) in the nation's sixth-best rushing offense despite starting just three of 14 appearances. Mitchell was voted first-team All-Sun Belt as a senior after leading the team with 878 rushing yards (eight scores, 6.2 per) in 10 games with nine starts (also 16 receptions, 153 yards, 9.6 average). He accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl. -- by Chad Reuter

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote the following about Mitchell within his scouting report:

Productive runner with good size but lacks the quickness and juice to force defenses to respect the full width of the football field against him. While he's experienced in outside zone, he might be too tight-hipped, lacking the burst necessary as a one-cut runner. He does have the size and vision to bang around inside, but he's not very dynamic or creative and needs it well-blocked in front of him. He might have to step it up in pass protection and as a special teams player to create a spot for himself as a third-down back with value in the kicking game.

Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network wrote the following about Mitchell within his scouting report:

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.

Pro Football Focus wrote the following about Mitchell:

Louisiana has quietly had one of the best run games in the FBS in recent years. They've already produced a number of NFL offensive linemen and RBs over the past few years, and Mitchell looks next in line. He has a very obvious NFL skillset with his combination of size, speed and explosiveness — this jumps off the screen right away given the competition level. He wouldn't look out of place at all starting next week in the league. There's not too much in the way of special traits that he possesses, however, which means he likely ends up somewhere on Day 3.

Dane Brugler of The Athletic wrote the following about Mitchell:

A three-year starter at Louisiana, Mitchell was the team's leading rusher in head coach Billy Napier's offense. He benefited from a deep backfield, accounting for only 􏰄􏰄.􏰍􏰏 of the team's rushing attempts the last two seasons, but he was consistently productive and is one of only five players in school history to reach 40 career rushing touchdowns. Mitchell runs with terrific effort every time he touches the ball, slashing through gaps and flashing a burst to clear the first wave. While he attacks the line of scrimmage with a head of steam, he would benefit from improved patience and timing. Overall, Mitchell is an upright, angular runner and lacks creativity, but he runs on a fast track with toughness and reliable pass-catching traits. He projects as a possible NFL backup.


Height: 5-11
Weight: 218 lbs.
Arm length: 31 inches
Hand length: 9.5 inches


  • Attended Erath (LA) HS where he recorded 1,903 rushing yards and 28 touchdowns his senior season. Finished his high school career with 457 carries for 4,045 yards and 50 touchdowns in 3 seasons.
  • Majored in general studies at Louisiana.
  • Son of Milton and Penny Mitchell.
  • Born Elijah Mitchell (5/2/98) in Erath, LA.

Other Notes

  • Led his team to a win in the final game of the 2020 season, and dedicated the feat to the late Coach Looney, their offensive line coach who died of a heart attack during an August team workout shortly before the start of preseason camp. On what would have been coach Looney's 32nd birthday, Mitchell and the offense ran the ball for 265 rushing yards to cement the victory. "It was very important (to end the season with a win), man," said Mitchell. "We've been through so much with coach Looney, with just everything going on," Mitchell said, "and we just put it in our minds that we just wanted this year to be great, no matter what the circumstances."
  • Prides himself on being known as a tough, hardworking running back and earned that reputation amongst his teammates and coaches at Louisiana. "Those moments make you feel pretty good," Mitchell said. "It means that the coaches trust you with the ball when it is crunch time. It makes you feel like you are a playmaker and someone the team can count on when things get tough."

College Statistics
Year School Class G Att Yds Avg TD
2017 Louisiana FR 5 42 257 6.1 4
2018 Louisiana SO 13 146 985 6.7 13
2019 Louisiana JR 14 198 1,147 5.8 16
2020 Louisiana SR 10 141 878 6.2 8
Total Louisiana 527 3,267 6.2 41

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