49ers roster: Power ranking top 10 offensive players entering Week 7

Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (25) Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

player. 42. . . . Elijah Mitchell. 3

No. 3: 49ers Running Back Elijah Mitchell

Kyle Juszczyk was a nice surprise to land within the top five, but his expected levels of production shouldn’t surpass Elijah Mitchell, whose ascent to the No. 1 running back role this season effectively makes him the third-best offensive option San Francisco has through six weeks of the year.

Mitchell wasn’t supposed to be here, of course, as the primary role was going to go to Raheem Mostert, who’s now out for the season with a knee injury. Even then, all thoughts and predictions pointed to Trey Sermon getting the nod in Mostert’s wake, either this year or next, except Mitchell essentially outperformed Sermon during the preseason and during regular-season games when both were healthy.

Exactly why Kyle Shanahan has relied on Mitchell so much more than Sermon is anyone’s guess, especially considering Shanahan’s previous use of dual-threat rushers in his offense.

Still, when he’s been healthy, the former Louisiana-Lafayette standout has made a dent in the ground game, averaging 4.2 rush yards and displaying his Mostert-like speed to the tune of 219 yards from scrimmage, which just so happens to be third best among all 49ers players up to this point in the season.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Mitchell winds up being the Niners’ leading rusher this season by a long shot.