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Keaton Mitchell Scouting Report | East Carolina RB | 2023 NFL Draft

Keaton Mitchell Scouting Report | East Carolina RB | 2023 NFL Draft
Keaton Mitchell is a 5-foot-8, 179-pound Running Back prospect from East Carolina University.

Player Bio

Keaton Mitchell is a 5-foot-8, 179-pound Running Back prospect from East Carolina University.

The son of longtime NFL Safety and Super Bowl Champion, Anthony Mitchell, Keaton was a three-star all-purpose running back from Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, GA. Rated as the 20th-ranked all-purpose running back in the Class of 2018, Mitchell received several Division I offers from schools such as Nebraska, West Virginia, USF, Coastal Carolina, and East Carolina. He committed to East Carolina during his senior season and signed his letter of intent on December 18, 2019.

Mitchell ended his high school with 556 carries, 5886 rushing yards, and 118 rushing touchdowns in four varsity seasons.

Mitchell found instant success as a true freshman at East Carolina in 2020. In a nine-game season, Mitchell appeared in every game and collected 88 carries, 457 rushing yards, and two rushing touchdowns; He added 11 receptions, 75 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown in the passing game. Mitchell finished the season with the second-highest rushing total on the team, only behind 2020 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Rookie of the Year, Rahjai Harris.

As a sophomore in 2021, Mitchell once again split carries with Harris but outrushed his teammate by more than 450 yards. Starting in all 12 games, Mitchell rushed for 1040 yards and nine rushing touchdowns on 156 carries. Additionally, he caught 22 passes for 253 receiving yards. Mitchell led the conference in rushing yards and earned First Team All-AAC honors for the first time in his career.

Mitchell returned to East Carolina in 2022 and became one of the most productive running backs in the country. Starting in all 12 games for the second year in a row, Mitchell accumulated 201 carries, 1452 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns, 27 receptions, 252 receiving yards, and one receiving touchdown. He finished the season ranked 12th nationally in total rushing yards and received First Team All-AAC honors for the second-straight season. After defeating Coastal Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl, Mitchell announced his intention to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft.

In three seasons at East Carolina, Mitchell recorded 463 carries, 3027 rushing yards, 25 rushing touchdowns, 60 receptions, 580 receiving yards, three receiving touchdowns, six kick returns, and 138 kick return yards. He finished his ECU career ranked third in program history in all-time rushing yards.

Mitchell participated in the 2023 NFL Combine and improved his draft stock with strong performances in the 40-yard dash (4.37), vertical jump (38”), and broad jump (10’ 6”).

Scouting Report

At 5-foot-8, 179 pounds, Mitchell is a dynamic playmaker with high-level play speed, vision, acceleration, and elusiveness.

With excellent burst and straight-line speed, Mitchell is a home run threat with the ball in his hands. His pure speed allows him to beat defenders to the edge and use his instantaneous reactionary athleticism to avoid defenders and reach the second level of the defense.

Mitchell led the FBS in runs over ten yards in 2022, proving to be one of the most explosive running backs in the 2023 NFL Draft. His unique combination of overall speed, twitch, and balance/body control make him a dangerous weapon in any offensive scheme.

Despite having the versatility to be an effective ball carrier between and outside the tackles, Mitchell tends to bounce runs to the outside more than necessary. His hesitation to attack the defensive interior should signal some concerns about his overall durability and potential to be an every-down running back at the next level. Mitchell could also use some improvement in the pass-blocking area of his game; He displayed a lack of consistent play strength at the point of attack against pass rushers.

Although Mitchell might not be a true power back, he runs much larger than his 5’8, 179-pound frame would indicate. Mitchell boasts a strong, compact build and powerful lower body; He bounces off tacklers and is nearly impossible to bring down with arm tackles in one-on-one situations. Mitchell is a tough ball carrier who can create explosive plays If he is able to slip away from the first defender.

Mitchell was a productive receiver out of the backfield throughout his career at ECU. He recorded 50-plus receptions and 500-plus receiving yards and has decent-enough ball skills to become a reliable pass catcher in the NFL.

Mitchell’s football profile does come with some size and strength concerns, but his big-play ability makes him a valuable running back prospect in the late rounds of the NFL Draft. He will likely serve as a backup early in his career but can be a quality depth piece on offense and special teams as a rookie.

Draft Projection

Late 6th-Priority Undrafted Free Agent


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