Each day leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, we will take a look at prospects that should be on the Carolina Panthers' radar. We will look at roughly eleven prospects per round to give a better idea of potential draftees beyond just the first round.
Here's our schedule for the next 80 days:
1st Round: Feb. 8th - Feb. 21st
2nd Round: Feb. 22nd - Mar. 6th
3rd Round: Mar. 7th - Mar. 18th
4th Round: Mar. 19th - Mar. 28th
5th Round: Mar. 29th - Apr. 7th
6th Round: Apr. 8th - Apr. 17th
7th Round: Apr. 18th - Apr. 27th
Prospect No. 78: RB Elijah Mitchell
Height: 6'3" Weight: 207 lbs
Draft range: 6th-7th
Analysis: It appears like the consensus is that Mitchell is going to be a 6th, maybe 7th round guy but I'm not sure why. He's an explosive back that can muscle through defenders for extra yardage and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He rushed for 1,147 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019 and ran for 878 yards and eight touchdowns in four fewer games this year. The value of Mitchell going this late reminds me a lot of James Robinson who actually went undrafted but had a stellar rookie year for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
After a stellar 2019 campaign, in which he ran for over 1,100 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, Mitchell opted to return to the Ragin’ Cajuns. A rugged, tough, downhill runner, Mitchell understands which hole to hit and has the ability to run to daylight. He demonstrates the balance to shed tackles and elude defenders, maintaining a low center of gravity as a ball-carrier. Mitchell is a running back who can control the game; his knack for gaining positive yardage on most of his carries wears down defenses. He can then hit a home run after breaking defenses down with his physical style of running. Mitchell was used sparingly in the pass game in 2019, but in 2018 he proved he has soft hands and can adjust to the ball effectively and make great catches. Mitchell’s play speed is great, but his overall long breakaway speed could be an issue. In addition, injuries have been a common theme dating back to his high-school career. He gets tackled from behind far too often and does not have speed to run by defenders. Mitchell is an extremely productive running back, but more consistency in the pass game along with improving his breakaway speed will separate him from being just another running back in the 2021 draft.
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