49ers NFL Draft grades: Day 3 reinforcements net good results
By Peter Panacy
Round 6, Pick No. 194 Overall: 49ers selection of RB Elijah Mitchell
Elijah Mitchell was one player I looked closely at as a late-round add for the Niners, particularly with their current crop of runners before the draft — Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., JaMycal Hasty and Austin Walter — only signed through 2021.
Mostert, Wilson and Hasty all suffered serious injuries last season, too, so the need to infuse some more talent was readily on the table.
San Francisco added Ohio State running back Trey Sermon in Round 3, and more attention will focus on him. But Mitchell might actually be the more electrifying runner out of the two rookies.
For starters, Mitchell is much faster, having put together a Mostert-like 4.38 40-yard time at his pro day. When combined with his 5-foot-10, 201-pound frame, it’s understandable why he was such a tough tackle at the collegiate level even though his competition wasn’t exactly top notch.
That said, Mitchell was notably productive as both a rushing and receiving threat:
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference
The combination of speed and versatility is exciting, although Mitchell’s vision and decisiveness are elements that will need some further development.
Kyle Shanahan’s offense rotates its running backs regularly, meaning Mitchell could be in line for carries his rookie season. Especially if Hasty and/or Walter are pushed off the roster. And while there wasn’t a pressing need to add Mitchell, and many draft pundits pegged him as a seventh-round target or even a priority undrafted free agent, thereby knocking the 49ers’ value down a bit here, the upsides still make for a quality late-round addition.