Keaton Mitchell is speed.
The fleet-footed running back made a name for himself at East Carolina as perhaps the most dangerous open-field runner in college football. This impressive display of quickness made him an intriguing prospect, and his NFL dreams finally came to fruition Saturday. The Baltimore Ravens signed Mitchell as an undrafted free agent moments after the draft concluded.
Mitchell ranked 12th in the FBS in rushing yards last season by accumulating 1,452 on 201 attempts — amounting to the second-highest rushing total in ECU history. This calculates to a 7.2 average, which was only bested by UAB’s DeWayne McBride among running backs fielding at least 100 carries.
Mitchell broke free for 14 touchdowns in his junior campaign, many of which were breakaway runs due to his blazing speed. This speed was demonstrated at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis where he posted a 4.37-second 40-yard dash, only trailing Texas A&M’s Devon Achane and Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs at the running back position.
Mitchell also shined in Indianapolis with elite explosiveness, showing a 38-inch vertical jump and 10-foot, 6-inch broad jump — ranking top three among running backs in both categories.
He finished his time at East Carolina third all-time in rushing yardage after producing consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Mitchell also played a hand in the receiving game by totaling 49 receptions across his final two years as a Pirate. The 2022 First Team All-AAC selection also dabbled in special teams roles, and he averaged 26.6 yards per kickoff return on five runbacks last fall.
Despite status as an undrafted free agent, Mitchell hopes to make immediate impact in a Ravens running back room which features the likes of J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.