No. 2: 49ers Running Back Elijah Mitchell
The primary beneficiary of Raheem Mostert going down wasn’t the third-round rookie draft pick, Trey Sermon, nor was it second-year pro JaMycal Hasty.
Rather it was the Niners’ sixth-round draft pick, Elijah Mitchell.
With Sermon inactive, San Francisco immediately turned to Mitchell for the bulk of duties on the ground in Week 1, and he certainly didn’t disappoint, picking up 104 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown, flashing Mostert-like speed along the way.
Related Story: How Raheem Mostert injury shakes up 49ers depth chart
Sermon is no longer going to be a gameday inactive, provided the 49ers don’t make another roster move to affect the upper end of the running back depth chart. But based on Mitchell’s use, it’s likely he’ll be tasked with shouldering the offensive load on the ground in Mostert’s stead over the rest of 2021.
Or at least until still-injured running back Jeff Wilson Jr. returns midseason from his offseason meniscus tear.
Regardless, Mitchell’s breakout performance in his NFL regular-season debut was certainly notable, yet it’s only the first of many expectation levels that’ll be placed upon him in the coming weeks.