The Baltimore Ravens were able to steal East Carolina’s Keaton Mitchell as an undrafted free agent after the 2023 NFL draft was over. Despite the fact that Mitchell accounted for 31 runs of 15 or more yards for 838 yards in his final season with the Pirates, and wasn’t just based on straight-line speed — he also forced 75 missed tackles, which was pretty good for a 5-foot-8, 179-pound back.
Those size concerns left Mitchell undrafted, and this was clearly a case where NFL teams should have looked beyond the obvious. Because in Baltimore’s do-it-all offense, Mitchell has all of a sudden become the league’s most prominent purveyor of big plays on the ground.
Mitchell had his first rushing attempts of the season in Baltimore’s 37-3 beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, and he came though in a big way, with 138 yards, a touchdown, and an astonishing 15.3 yards per carry average. Two of those runs were for 15+ yards, and he broke eight tackles along the way, so Mitchell played to type all the way.
He blew Seattle’s defense up for a 40-yard run…
…and a 60-yard scamper.
Against the Cleveland Browns’ usually estimable defense, Mitchell was right back at it, singeing the Browns with this 32-yard gain on a screen pass…
KEATON MITCHELL MIGHT JUST BE HIM 😳pic.twitter.com/r0niqkxZx4
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) November 12, 2023
…and this 39-yard touchdown run.
Keaton Mitchell bounces outside and turns on the burners for a touchdown
He is speed⚡️ pic.twitter.com/niMfYKQxEV
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) November 12, 2023
So now, it’s just a bunch of 30-plus-yard plays, which is nice work if you can get it.
“I just approach every week the same,” Mitchell said in the week leading up to the Browns game. “Work hard, come out here, watch film and really just prepare. Every team is a good team. This is the NFL. This isn’t college anymore, so [I] come out here [and] bust my tail every day.”
So far, it’s working like a charm in the Charm City.