NOTICE: The views expressed in The Vermilion’s opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect those of The Vermilion staff or of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
OPINION — The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s running back Elijah Mitchell should not be projected as a sixth round draft pick.
Mitchell only ran for 878 yards in 10 games, so they are not great numbers. But this kid has got that “it” factor, in my opinion.
Mitchell is the third-best running back option in the draft behind University of Alabama’s Najee Harris and Clemson University’s Travis Etienne. Harris and Etienne are legitimate first-round picks and both can handle the workload that comes with being a starter in the NFL.
I can see Mitchell falling in the draft but not to the sixth round. He is stoutly built, has great speed, makes great cuts to find holes, and the best thing is, he’ll run through people. If teams really value this player as a sixth round pick they are mistaken.
Mitchell would be a steal if he is picked past the third round. He is the kind of player that is NFL-ready and can help teams win now.
Mitchell runs aggressively and does not shy away from contact kind of like how Nick Chubb runs. They both played in a two-running back system where they would alternate snaps. So far in his career, Chubb has been benefiting from alternating snaps in the NFL as well.
The type of running Mitchell and Chubb do does not survive long in the league because taking those heavy hits takes a toll on them. They try to run people over at top speed. Still, Mitchell is more agile than Chubb so I think Mitchell could be the better running back.
I can understand why he is projected so low. It does not help that running backs are possibly the most easily replaceable position in football.
Mitchell would be a perfect fit with a team that has a solid running back that Mitchell can lessen the workload for. Fewer reps mean fewer hits so he can stay healthier throughout the season. Mitchell is not an every-down back but if he is paired with another solid running back he can have a very productive and successful season.
The Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints are just a few teams who could benefit from drafting Mitchell. Each team of those teams would benefit massively from working in a two running back system.
The Bills would be the best team for him in my opinion and they should not wait until the sixth round to get him. They are literally another running back away from being a 13 win team.
Mitchell and Devin Singletary would be a great duo at running back. Josh Allen is a great quarterback who can absolutely launch the football downfield. If they set up play-action plays Allen has Stefon Diggs who is a receiver with great speed and hands to go out and catch anything Allen throws to him.
Mitchell is not even close to being a sixth-round pick talent-wise there is no denying that. I personally do not see him going that late in the draft. I compared him to Nick Chubb because their play styles are similar. Chubb is a top-five running back in the league and Mitchell has that potential.
If Mitchell can stay healthy he can and will be an impactful player for whatever team he ends up playing for.