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Keaton Mitchell

Baltimore back won't be ready in Week 1

John Harbaugh has confirmed that Keaton Mitchell won’t be ready when the season starts. But the second-year back, knock on wood, should be back at some point during the season.

"It's not a ‘come-back-during-training-camp or first game’ type of thing," Harbaugh told the media. "I think we all know that. It's sometime during the season. It's not like right around the corner. We shouldn't be biting our fingernails, [wondering] is he going to get back.”

When Mitchell got hurt late in the league, he was about the most explosive running back in the league, consistently ripping off long gainers. He averaged 8.4 yards per attempt as a rookie (almost a yard more, remarkably, than DeVon Achane in Miami).

But Mitchell shredded his knee pretty throughout in a late-season game at Jacksonville. The injury was severe enough that NBC’s national crew opted against showing the replay. It was never realistic to hope for Mitchell to be ready for Week 1.

Whether Mitchell can get back to being anything remotely close to what he was last year remains to be seen. In general, I don’t see him as being worth a roster spot for 2024 (there are just too many other players out there with the potential to maybe develop into something).

But that brief flash last year was really something. Since the merger in 1970, only 24 running backs with at least 20 carries in a season have averaged over 7 yards per attempt. Of those guys, nine at some point in their career put together a season with top-30 numbers (using PPR scoring).

RUNNING BACKS AVERAGING 7 YARDS PER CARRY
YearPlayerAttYdsAvgTDBest Rk
2008• Felix Jones, Dall.302668.9323
2007De Dorsey, Cin.211838.7095
2023Keaton Mitchell, Balt.473968.4259
2021Travis Homer, Sea.211778.4169
1995Jerry Ellison, T.B.262188.4561
1993Lorenzo Neal, N.O.211758.3169
1986Thomas Sanders, Chi.272248.3572
2017Corey Grant, Jac.302488.3283
2007• Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG231908.3110
2013Toby Gerhart, Min.362837.9239
2018Brian Hill, Atl.201577.9050
2023• DeVon Achane, Mia.1038007.8825
2018• Raheem Mostert, S.F.342617.715
2002Michael Wiley, Dall.221687.6166
1986• Tony Nathan, Mia.272037.5015
1991• Darrin Nelson, Min.282107.5212
2001• LaMont Jordan, NYJ392927.516
2000Brian Mitchell, Phil.251877.5245
2005Rock Cartwright, Was.271997.4243
2001Michael Wiley, Dall.342477.3066
2008• Jerome Harrison, Cle.342467.2122
2012Cedric Peerman, Cin.362587.2172
2011• Mewelde Moore, Pitt.221577.1026
2000Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, Pitt.211497.1145

—Ian Allan

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