49ers: 3 players from 2021 NFL Draft who aren’t locks to make roster
By Peter Panacy
No. 2: 49ers Running Back Elijah Mitchell
Like Jaylon Moore, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell gets a little bit of a boost to his roster chances, thanks to the offseason injury to another veteran runner, Jeff Wilson Jr., who’ll be out four to six months with a meniscus tear.
But even with Wilson out of the picture in the immediate future, Mitchell still faces an uphill climb to crack the roster.
The Niners have essentially cemented Trey Sermon and Raheem Mostert in as RBs 1 and 2, and the pecking order is probably up to your preference right now. Both will make the cut, though, barring injury.
Assuming San Francisco keeps four running backs, however, that’ll leave Mitchell competing with one returning player, JaMycal Hasty, and one free-agent addition, Wayne Gallman, for the fourth and likely final spot on the depth chart by Week 1.
Hasty’s scatback abilities and Gallman’s vision both work in their respective favors, but Mitchell’s blazing-fast 4.32 40-yard speed is one of his best attributes. Same with his pass-catching abilities.
Yet Mitchell, the 49ers’ final pick of the 2021 draft, doesn’t necessarily have that vision to automatically thrive, and there may simply be too many other runners who offer up a more complete package than the rookie by the time Week 1 rolls around.