With a full slate of Sun Belt games to be played this coming Saturday, I’ll look to get you prepared for the coming season with scouting reports on the top 2021 NFL Draft prospects playing their Saturday games in the “Fun” Belt Football Conference.
It was hard trimming down all the undervalued talent in this conference and narrowing it down to a “Top-5” list, but this is simply a great way to give you the top-five names of NFL prospects that have the highest potential moving forward, combined with proven production throughout their careers to back up the hype.
At number five on my Fun Belt board of Top 2021 NFL Draft Prospects from the conference, we’ll take a look at Elijah Mitchell from the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
RB Elijah Mitchell, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns
Size: 5’11” / 218 lbs.
Notable Accolades from previous season(s):
- 2019 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
- 2018 Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference
Notable Stats from Previous Season(s):
- 2019 rushing: 198 carries for 1,147 rushing yards (avg. 5.8) and 16 touchdowns
- 2018 rushing: 145 carries for 977 rushing yards (avg. 6.7) and 13 touchdowns
- 2019 receiving: 10 catches for 70 yards, 1 touchdown
- 2018 receiving: 20 receptions for 349 yards and 3 touchdowns
- ZERO career fumbles
- Mitchell has very good size with great overall athleticism. With quick feet and impressive burst, he is a complete back that can do it all. His overall athletic ability allows him to be effective in all aspects of the game; attractive blend of power, speed and finesse, but can also be effective in the pass-game if the situation allows him to be. Can use power to run between the tackles but has equally exciting athleticism and lateral agility to bend runs around the end. He has good vision, decent patience to let the play develop at the LOS and assess where he can do the most damage.
- The most notable part of his game is his ability to break tackles. His lower body strength and overall balance are outstanding, yet he does it consistently.
- According the PFF, Mitchell ranked 6th among RB’s in the country last year in yards after contact (4.1 yards after contact per attempt), and I am ready to see if he can continue to increase production this year after doing just that the last two seasons. All in all, Elijah Mitchell is a gifted athlete that continuously improves in his craft (he was a two-star recruit coming out of high school as a wide receiver prospect). Big things are on the horizon for Elijah Mitchell- with high expectations for Mitchell’s upcoming senior season, he is widely expected to be playing football on Sunday’s in 2021.
- With Mitchell’s high level of athleticism, one area where I’d like to see improvement on is within the passing game. Effective as a receiver, I’d really like to see him become more involved as a receiver. With his ability to break tackles and create extra yards on a consistent basis, if he could show signs of consistent catching ability, I believe that can help his draft stock even more.
- This also translates to his inconsistencies when it comes to blocking in pass protection. Because of his big frame, I hope he can improve with his blocking technique and effort in pass protection. If he can tighten up his blocking technique and remain on the field as a reliable blocker in pass pro, I believe we’ll see more examples of his receiving ability.
- Health can be a concern after he had a foot injury that limited him to just five games during his freshman campaign.
Elijah Mitchell has the ability and positional versatility to be one of the best running backs in the country this season. Running behind arguably the best offensive line in the conference, this is a seasoned offensive unit that the Ragin’ Cajuns will look to fully unleash in 2020. With a unique combination of burst and agility, most NFL scouts should be looking at Mitchell as the top back in this backfield. His big frame and his ability to run between the tackles, paired with his quick feet and lateral agility to bend run outside of the tackles are ideal traits for a young back that could easily project as a three-down back at the next level. However, the part of his game that could be where he’s best? His consistent ability to break tackles and create extra yards. He has excellent body control; can maintain balance to withstand contact from defenders. He is very well-rounded; a highly talented prospect that I’m excited to see get more attention this year.
All said, this backfield’s 1-2 punch- with Mitchell and redshirt senior Trey Ragas (we’ll look at him in the coming weeks)- has the potential to be one of the most potent backfields in the nation. I’m looking forward to watching this Louisiana offensive unit and how they scheme up new, efficient ways to best utilize this exciting tandem.