The San Francisco 49ers spent a sixth round pick — No. 194 overall — on Louisiana running back Elijah Mitchell. He joins a depth chart that includes veterans Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, and Wayne Gallman, and third round pick Trey Sermon.
Mitchell rushed for 878 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 16 passes for 153 yards in his senior season. The year prior, he had 1,147 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns to go along with 70 receiving yards and a score. He finished his Louisiana career with 3,267 rushing yards and 41 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He ran official 4.38 and 4.39 40s but also had an unofficial 4.32 40. He ran a 6.94 3-cone drill and projects as an explosive home run threat.
Fantasy football impact
The 49ers backfield is loaded with the addition of Sermon prior to Mitchell, but the 2020 showed us how much the workload can end up getting split. Drafting Sermon and Mitchell puts Mostert and Wilson on noticed. Gallman will fit into the situation as well, so it’s tough to project how carries could end up getting split.
Mitchell’s best chance at earning some snaps is if injuries impact the depth chart ahead of him. He’s got the kind of speed and athleticism where if he could get a shot, he could run with it and secure a more significant workload. But coming out of the offseason, his best chance at making an impact right out of the gate will be on special teams. He’s someone to have on your radar in re-draft leagues, but not worth drafting for rookie year performance outside of the deepest of leagues.
Mitchell should be a popular pick in dynasty leagues. Day three and UDFA backs have found plenty of success in the Shanahan system dating back to Mike’s days as Broncos head coach. There could be some concerns with lack of power, but if he gets an opportunity, it would not be at all surprising to see him emerge as the latest under-the-radar back to surpass 1,000 yards. It seems unlikely to happen in his first year, but he’s a worthwhile dynasty and keeper league investment.