The NFL is full of “flavor of the month” stories where you see players come out of nowhere, have their fifteen minutes of fame, and seemingly disappear. In the case of San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, it doesn’t appear that he’s going anywhere anytime soon. Mostert currently leads all running backs that have at least 100 carries with 6.0 yards per carry. He’s second in yards per touch at 6.7. Mostert is also top three in the NFL in percentage of carries that go for ten or more yards.
Mostert held the turbo button down here. Idk how he went untouched. Speed kills. pic.twitter.com/J9qkV4Xkhb— KP (@KP_Show) December 10, 2019
Mostert is faster than you. Period. When you run a 4.34 40-yard dash, that’s going to be the case for just about anybody. The run above highlights Mostert’s speed. It’s only a 10-yard run, but you see his burst as he glides by the linebacker. You can see the safeties were not expecting Mostert
Since Shanahan arrived in 2017, Mostert is averaging 6.3 YPA on 142 rushes. Only five others have done that: Michael Vick, Tavon Austin, Bobby Douglass, Randall Cunningham, and Percy Harvin. Only one is running back. Mostert. Several components go into Mostert’s success, but you have to start with his speed.
Track and field
I didn’t know this until earlier this week, but Mostert was a speed demon at Purdue. He won the Big Ten title in the 60 meter and 200 meter at the conference indoor track championship, and qualified for national championships in both events. Mostert also won the Big Ten title in the 100 meter and 200-meter dash at the conference outdoor track championship his senior year. Mostert’s fastest 100 meter dash time was a 10.15. If you’re not familiar with track and field, a 10.05 will qualify you for the 2020 Olympics. The 49ers have a world-class sprinter in their backfield, so should it be a surprise that Mostert has 330 total yards on 7.3 yards per carry and four touchdowns the past three weeks? It shouldn’t be. You can’t tackle what you can’t catch.
Mostert has broken 23 tackles on the season according to Football Outsiders charting. So Mostert is breaking a tackle just over 20% of the time. When you factor in his speed and ability to avoid going down on first contact, it’s tough to imagine he won’t be sticking around for a while.
Making the most of his situation
Mostert isn’t a new name by any means. He’s been a standout on Special Teams for some time now on the 49ers. There’s no question Mostert has been in some advantageous situations due to Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling. You can go back to Week 2 in a blowout victory where Mostert had 83 yards on 13 carries. He also took a screen to the house from 39-yards out. That should have been a sign that Mostert was more than a guy that can cover kicks. Fast forward to Week 14, and Mostert is on the receiving end of an Emmanuel Sanders throw after the defense bites. Mostert cruises into the end zone untouched.
Mostert has run into some struggles this season. The second time the 49ers faced the Cardinals, Mostert carried the ball six times for 13 yards. Against the Rams, he touched if four times for just 13 yards. Those struggles have come few and far between. Mostert has the tenth-highest success rate of all running backs in the NFL at 51%. So when Mostert touches it, the odds are high that good things will happen for the offense.
Mostert is here to stay
Mostert signed a 3-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers on March 19, 2019. The contract is worth $8,650,000, with $2.4 million guaranteed at signing and $3 million total guarantees. Mostert strengthens the argument in the football community that you can find running backs just about anywhere, and you don’t need to pay top dollar to get one.
The Niners having Mostert under contract is great for their future. Despite Matt Breida being banged up, and us not even having a chance to see Jerick McKinnon in a regular-season game, Mostert has proven he can be a workhorse. San Francisco versus Baltimore was one of the most physical games all season in the NFL, and Mostert carried in 19 times in sloppy conditions for 146 yards. Kyle Shanahan knows he can rely on Mostert, whether it’s a rainy day on a muddy field in Baltimore, or in a dome in New Orleans. Speed, the ability to make you miss, but. Most importantly, patience and vision make Mostert what you’d call RB1.
Mostert isn’t going anywhere, and the next month will prove that.