East Carolina University
Typically, this wouldn’t be a road I would venture down, but the Dallas Cowboys pre-draft process has been anything but normal. There was a time when Dallas would have never visited with a Tank Dell or a Zay Flowers strictly because of the lack of size. Maybe, just maybe, they are placing more value on the player’s ability and not quite as much on their size profile.
If that holds true, Keaton Mitchell could be the diminutive, change of pace running back that the Dallas Cowboys are missing. I’ll be honest, for most NFL team, a fifth-round tag may be a generous spot for this type of prospect. Once the dust settles, he may find himself sitting in the middle of the sixth-round which would even more enticing for Dallas.
His rushing/receiving stats at East Carolina University were outstanding over his three collegiate years. However, for me, it was the long gains that put him in a different light. Two seasons ago, he broke off an 88-yard run against Marshall, and he followed that in 2022 with an 81-yard run against Old Dominion University. Granted the runs were against lesser competition, I have a sneaking suspicion that his game breaking ability will translate in the NFL.
So why would the Dallas Cowboys have a problem with Keaton Mitchell? That’s easy. He’s 5’9″ 178lbs soaking wet. For all that I mentioned earlier, historically, those measurements are on the outer ranges for the Dallas Cowboys. Not to mention history isn’t on this player’s side when it comes to this positional value.
In last year’s draft, only 10 players out of 128 drafted were running backs in the first 4 rounds. Most football followers would agree that there are probably ten runners in this draft universally rated higher than Keaton Mitchell.
Mitchell would both an intriguing and, more importantly, available option for Dallas on Day 3. He would provide elusiveness, explosiveness and game breaking abilities both in the backfield and special teams. Having both Mitchell and Kevontae Turpin on the roster may have Will McClay’s stomach tied up in knots but you can’t help but envision the playmaking with the ball in their hands.