The Baltimore Ravens lost their first-string running back, J.K. Dobbins, to a season-ending Achiless injury just a couple of quarters into the regular season. That hurt, and there's no way to sugarcoat it.
The Ravens had the chance to trade for a rusher ahead of the NFL trade deadline, and that's what they did. Only, the Titans owner vetoed that trade and it all went down the drain with just 15% of the deal left to be completed.
Then, magic happened. Entered Week 9 and an undrafted rookie running back named Keaton Mitchell.
Mitchell got his first reasonable workload last weekend after gracing the field on a minimal volume before Week 9 and all he did was stomp and run through a Seahawks defense that had no idea of how to stop the rookie.
The UDFA running back rushed the rock just nine times but he ended with 138 yards and that score. After such a magnificent outing, Ravens Offensive Coordinator said on Thursday "When you get your opportunity, you take advantage of it and that leads to more opportunities."
"When you get your opportunity, you take advantage of it and that leads to more opportunities. I think that’s the simplest way to put [it] in anything in life. If you’re given an opportunity and you’re successful at it, you’re going to get more opportunities. You deserve it. You earned that. He’s earned that."- Todd Monken, Ravens OC
There you have it, fantasy folks.
Mitchell made the Ravens initial 53-man roster back in August but started the season on IR. After a few weeks, he has finally returned at full capacity having dealt with a further hamstring injury delaying his comeback.
It's not reasonable to expect Mitchell instantly turning this 138-yard performance into a bonafide RB1 role overnight, mind you, but there is ample chance he provides long-yardage-type runs to a Ravens team that has lacked that punch since losing Dobbins.
Gus Edwards will retain his role as the leading rusher of the offense (not counting Lamar Jackson) but he's more of the bull-rush variety and short-yard gains. That's actually good news, as Mitchell should be the perfect complement to Edwards on the backfield.
Justice Hill should also feature and keep getting touches (he's logged the most among Ravens running backs) but he's struggled a lot causing fumbles and not being overly productive, so Mitchell might end the season as the legitimate RB2 of the team with Edwards at RB1 and Hill at RB3 at most.
The Ravens also have veteran RB Melvin Gordon III in their practice squad, but the breakout of Mitchell has all but closed the door for him to make it back to the field for the remainder of the season unless any of the aforementioned three suffers an injury.