It was just a matter of time. The Baltimore Ravens signed UDFA rookie Keaton Mitchell last spring after nobody in the NFL considered the running back worth a draft pick. That happened more than half a year ago, but on Sunday Mitchell delivered the goodies and looked hella great in the Ravens backfield.
So good he looked, indeed, that superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson took no time in giving Mitchell his flowers (h/t Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun) after the 37-3 win over Seattle in Week 9 of the regular season.
"We've seen in the preseason where [Mitchell] was playing against the [Washington Commanders]. We saw how explosive he was, and we see it in practice, but today the offensive line just gave him a little room and he did the rest," Jackson said after the game. "He was hitting the hole."
Said Jackson of Mitchell: "Just making crazy runs [and] great cuts. It was great to see. Sometimes, I wasn't carrying out my fake, because I wanted to see what he was going to do with the ball."
And what Mitchell did with the ball in the first game this season in which he was fully fit, available, and given more than just a few opportunities, was carry the ball nine times for a monster 138 yards and a touchdown, his first as a pro.
Mitchell had a couple of massive runs going for 40 yards (the one in which he scored with fewer than 30 seconds left in the third quarter) and 60 yards, his longest of the day, let alone his brief pro career.
Speaking after the game, Mitchell told Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Banner that he "did [his] research" before signing with the Ravens after "other teams" showed interest in him, prioritizing what Mitchell labeled "the best fit."
It's now fair to say Mitchell made the right choice, and also that Baltimore truly hit the jackpot by landing the UDFA when he could have chosen any other place to start his professional playing career in the NFL given the alternatives he said he had at hand.
After passing on trading for a running back last Tuesday and watching Mitchell (and fellow rusher Gus Edwards, who scored twice on Sunday) performance's against the Seahawks, the future is bright for Baltimore's backfield even without haveing any addition through the NFL trade deadline.