Pro Football Focus ranked the NFL’s most elusive starting running backs. These aren’t the best running backs; it’s a list of the running backs who are the best at missing tackles. San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert found himself 17th on the list:
Mostert’s postseason run last season was impressive stuff. He forced 17 missed tackles on 53 carries, where he averaged 6 yards per attempt and 4 yards after contact per attempt in the 49ers’ run to the Super Bowl. That ability to make defenders miss and pick up yardage after contact didn’t just pop up in the postseason, either. It’s something Mostert showcased with 3.5 yards after contact per attempt and 29 missed tackles forced on 137 carries during the regular season. Obviously, we’re not looking at a massive sample here — part of the reason he comes in at just 17th on the list — but that elusiveness is what has him in position to be the lead back in what should again be one of the most productive rushing attacks in the NFL.
Sample size certainly hurts ‘Heem here. Mostert has PFF’s seventh-highest elusive rating for players who had at least 100 carries. Looking at Football Outsiders broken tackle stat, Mostert was 16th among running backs that had 100 touches at 19.9%.
To me, Mostert becomes more difficult to tackle as the game goes on. Defenders get tired as the game wears on, but Mostert’s speed doesn’t change, and he doesn’t go down by arm tackles. If Mostert’s volume increases, his stats across the board will. Mostert was fifth in the NFL in yards after contact. I’m not sure what else he needs to do after 2019 to show he’s worthy of being the lead back. It’d be a real shame if he received the bulk of the carries in 2020.