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Report: Seahawks met with speedy East Carolina running back Keaton Mitchell

Seattle needs running backs; might this elusive speedster be one of them?

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NCAA Football: Birmingham Bowl-Coastal Carolina at East Carolina Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for a late-round burner to play running back?

Keaton Mitchell could be your guy.

According to PFF: Mitchell is lightning in a bottle. He’s got the kind of burners that don’t get caught from behind. He recorded 31 carries of 15-plus yards to lead all of college football in 2022.

At the NFL Combine last month, Mitchell ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash.

That mark ties him for the eighth-fastest 40 time ever by a running back at the Combine - a feat that might have generated more buzz if Keaton’s time hadn’t been beaten by two of his peers.

Note: Devin Achane ran the 4th-fastest RB 40 in Combine history at 4.32, and Jahmyr Gibbs’ 4.37 recorded the 7th-fastest all-time.

Still, Mitchell is incredibly fast.

You know who else is fast? Kenneth Walker III. He ran a 4.38 forty last year.

And he’s not the only speedster in the Seahawks‘ garage.

Now that we’ve established the Seahawks’ interest in speedsters, let’s focus on one of this year’s models . . . Keaton Mitchell.

According to a tweet from The Draft Network’s Justin Melo early Friday morning, the Seahawks were one of seven teams that recently met with Mitchell.

The other six teams were the Denver Broncos (let’s ride!), the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Detroit Lions, and the Atlanta Falcons.

Listed at 5’9, 184 lbs, Keaton would instantly become the smallest running back on Seattle’s roster and their smallest one in recent memory.

Note: According to Pro Football Focus, Kenneth Walker III is 5-9, 211; DeeJay Dallas is 5-10, 214; and Darwin Thompson is 5-8, 200. The recently departed Rashaad Penny (5-11, 220) and Travis Homer (5-10, 202) were also larger than Keaton.

Over the last two seasons, Keaton carried the ball 375 times for 2,569 yards (6.85 average) and 23 touchdowns. Keaton added 50 receptions on 63 targets for 504 yards (10.0 average) over the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

PFF graded Keaton highly:

Circling back to the combine for a moment, Mitchell’s 10-yards split (1.48) was the top mark of any running back this year. On top of that, his 38-inch vertical leap was the 3rd-best mark among the RBs at the Combine, and his 10-foot 6-inch broad jump was #2.

This is from NFL analyst Lance Zierlein (prior to the combine):

“Small but speedy, Mitchell amassed over 2,900 scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He mashes the gas pedal and gets to top speed quickly. He can outflank defenses and chalk up a long run if defenses aren’t ready for him. However, he needs a clear point of entry inside and isn’t built to withstand the punishment that goes along with interior running in the NFL. Teams will need to have a plan for him, but he’s electric with the ball in his hands. His big-play potential could be hard to pass up for teams needing more juice.”