The San Francisco 49ers have been relying on technology to track speed as opposed to 40-times. Instead of referencing Brandon Aiyuk’s 40-time, they referenced how many miles per hour he was running. Not in shorts, but in pads. Next-Gen Stats has been tracking in-game speed for a few years now, and their latest article took a look at the ten most explosive runners in the NFL. Before clicking on the link, can you name five? Lamar Jackson is an easy one. Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook come to mind, but after that, the names on the list may surprise you.
One name that wasn’t surprising to see on the list was Raheem Mostert. Before we get to Heem, here is the criteria for the list:
In order to find our top 10, we needed to first establish relative volume by limiting our field to those who logged a minimum of 100 carries in 2019. The reason: Explosiveness, by nature, can’t be defined by one statistic. It’s a combination of blinding speed and productivity. The three defining criteria:
A minimum of 100 carries in 2019
At least 20 carries of 10-plus yards
The defining metric: percentage of runs of 15-plus mph
Matt Breida had 18 runs of 10-plus yards. He just missed the cut. Hopefully, he gets more opportunities in Miami, and he’s on the list this time next year. As for Mostert, he was the third on the list:
Runs of 10-plus yards: 23. 10-plus run pct: 16.8. 15-plus mph pct: 28.5.
Mostert’s greatest day came in the postseason, but one has to wonder how effective he could have been statistically during the regular season if given a larger workload. Mostert hit 20-plus mph on four rushes in 2019, putting him in elite ball-carrying company — only seven players reached that benchmark, and Mostert did it with fewer total carries than anyone. Was his success a product of a defense overlooking the lesser-known runner in favor of other weapons in San Francisco, or is this a case of untapped potential? We’ll find out in 2020, as defenses will no longer look at Mostert as the guy who was cut a half-dozen times before landing in The Bay. They could, however, look at him as the guy who averaged a max speed of 13.75 mph on touches in 2019 — the highest mark among all running backs in the NFL with a minimum of 100 touches.
I’d pay good money to hear Kyle Shanahan on truth serum answering why Mostert didn’t have a larger workload in 2019. The offensive line should get more credit than the 49ers wideouts if we’re sharing Mostert’s success.
Mostert averaging the highest max speed shouldn’t be surprising given his track history, but it’s still impressive. I don’t understand when the author talks about how defenses will no longer look at Mostert as a guy that was cut multiple times. Does he think that’s why Mostert ran for over 200 yards in the NFC Championship? Because he caught Green Bay off guard? Mostert is an easy projection moving forward as the offensive line is expected to be even better this year for the 49ers.