Eagles would be wise to monitor these sub-radar, late-round RB prospects

Eric Gray, Running Back, Oklahoma University Sooners (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Eric Gray, Running Back, Oklahoma University Sooners (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /
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Keaton Mitchell, #2, East Carolina University Pirates (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images) /

. . Keaton Mitchell, ECU. . player. 932.

East Carolina’s Keaton Mitchell possesses lightning speed and the ability to make bursting cuts that could make him the steal of the Draft.

ECU standout Keaton Mitchell leads all running back prospects in the 2023 draft class that had over 100 carries in 2022 with an average of 7.4 yards per carry. He also collected over 1,700 scrimmage yards and 15 total touchdowns during East Carolina University’s regular season and the Pirates’ appearance in the Birmingham Bowl.

Mitchell also had the fastest 10-yard split among running backs at the 2023 Scouting Combine (1.48 seconds) and the third-fastest 40-yard dash time among running backs (4.37 seconds). It’s worth noting that another running back who entered the 2008 Draft by way of East Carolina also had a reputation for being speedy. His name was Chris Johnson.

While Mitchell may not be the highly-coveted, record-breaking prospect that CJ2K was, he possesses incredible potential in his own right. He constantly decisive cuts and often reaches full speed before he reaches the line of scrimmage.

Measuring five-foot-eight and weighing 179 pounds, Mitchell has an arm length of 30 3/4 inches and a hand size of 9 1/4 inches. Mitchell’s size is a major part of why he is viewed as a prospect that can be taken in the sixth round or post-draft. His frame does, however, allow him to squeeze between defenders. His legs are short, but his cuts are quick and decisive.

Mitchell also led college football with 29 rushes that exceeded 15 yards in 2022. He was as a threat in the receiving game as Eric Gray with 25 receptions for 235 yards in 2022. His quarterbacks earned a passer rating of 113.2 when targeting him during his collegiate career according to Pro Football Focus’s premium stats.

Mitchell also did a phenomenal job of protecting the football while at ECU. He had zero fumbles during the 2022 season and only two fumbles over three seasons. He saw over 440 carries.

Despite being a small player from a small school, Keaton Mitchell has a skillset the Eagles should covet, especially when the team has a reputation for utilizing undersized rushers such as Boston Scott and Darren Sproles.