49ers 7-round mock NFL Draft after first wave of free agency

The 2018 NFL Draft logo (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
The 2018 NFL Draft logo (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana Ragin Cajuns
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns running back Elijah Mitchell (15) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Round 7, Pick No. 228 Overall (from Jets): 49ers select running back Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana

Even though the Niners are losing running backs Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon to free agency this offseason, it wouldn’t appear as if Kyle Shanahan needs to worry too much about his halfback depth chart entering 2021.

After all, he has runners Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter all there to compete for snaps.

Two problems, though. Aside from Walter, the other three rushers all suffered serious injuries in 2020, including Hasty’s torn ACL. On top of that, none of the above running backs are under contract in 2022, suggesting Shanahan will want San Francisco to use at least one of its day-three NFL Draft picks on a running back.

Few in this category fit the bill quite like Louisiana’s Elijah Mitchell, who still put up impressive yards last season despite being part of another running back committee:

Elijah Mitchell Rushing & Receiving Table
Rushing Receiving Scrimmage
Year School Conf Class Pos G Att Yds Avg TD Rec Yds Avg TD Plays Yds Avg TD
2017 Louisiana Sun Belt FR RB 5 42 257 6.1 4 3 25 8.3 1 45 282 6.3 5
*2018 Louisiana Sun Belt SO RB 13 146 985 6.7 13 20 349 17.5 3 166 1334 8.0 16
*2019 Louisiana Sun Belt JR RB 14 198 1147 5.8 16 10 70 7.0 1 208 1217 5.9 17
*2020 Louisiana Sun Belt SR RB 10 141 878 6.2 8 16 153 9.6 0 157 1031 6.6 8
Career Louisiana 527 3267 6.2 41 49 597 12.2 5 576 3864 6.7 46

Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
Generated 3/19/2021.

Mitchell possesses that dual-threat capability, serving both as a quality running back and someone who can serve as a safety valve out of the backfield in the passing game. That’s also a part of Shanahan’s offense.

Mitchell’s stocky 5-foot-11, 218-pound frame makes him a tough tackle, too. And while his pedigree isn’t overly suggestive of a “draft diamond,” the versatility and toughness pair well with his production.

At the very least, it gives the 49ers some insurance at the position beyond this upcoming season.

The 2021 NFL Draft kicks off on Thursday, April 29.

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