Niner Noise’s “Who Is?” series on San Francisco 49ers players in 2017 takes a look at running back Raheem Mostert and the chances he makes the roster this season.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert probably didn’t figure to see much action back in 2016 when the Niners signed him to their practice squad on November 28.
Yet Mostert ended up being promoted on December 31 and saw action in San Francisco’s final game of the year.
Mostert, a former undrafted free agent back in 2015, originally signed on with the Philadelphia Eagles and spent time with the Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears before landing with the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers
To date, Mostert has just one NFL carry of six yards — one recorded in that final Niners game last season.
Known more for his return abilities, Mostert will be competing for depth on San Francisco’s tailback chart during training camp. His ability to contribute on special teams should go a long way in helping his chances to make the 53-man roster this season.
So what else should we expect out of him between now and Week 1?
Why He’ll Improve
Mostert hasn’t had much of a chance to prove himself on offense, and that will be a tall order with the Niners as well.
San Francisco already has Carlos Hyde, Joe Williams, Tim Hightower, Matt Breida and Kapri Bibbs, among other possibilities, likely slated above the former Purdue product. One of his collegiate scouting reports, from SB Nation’s Hammer and Rails, touted Mostert’s speed as a primary asset.
Indeed, Mostert ran a 4.38 40-yard time at his pro day back in 2015.
Speed is never a bad attribute to have, so perhaps this factors into how the 49ers offense chooses to view him.
And as a return specialist, Mostert has averaged 26.9 yards per kick return on 21 attempts. That’s a good mark and a bonus for special teams if he makes the cut.
Why He’ll Regress
Mostert has managed to find his way on various rosters over his brief NFL career, so teams always seem to be willing to give him chances.
That’s good, but it’s also an indication he doesn’t have enough traits to stick around beyond anything more than just a role player. And since his offensive production hasn’t existed, outside of one mere rushing attempt, doesn’t speak well to any future impact.
At 5-foot-11 and 197 pounds, Mostert has an ideal size for an elusive, speedy-type ball-carrier. Yet the ability to recognize gaps in rushing situations simply hasn’t been established.
If anything, Mostert offers up little more than special teams contributions and a very raw skill set in regards to being an actual rusher.
What to Expect in 2017
The 49ers are going to give more chances to depth runners like Williams and Breida over Mostert. Williams, a fourth-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, is probably a lock to make the roster. And Breida has already made a name for himself in San Francisco’s offseason activities so far.
San Francisco may wind up keeping four running backs, especially if one or two of them can contribute on special teams.
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But with Hyde possibly assuming the No. 1 slot, that would leave Williams, Breida and Hightower rounding out this group.
There simply isn’t room for Mostert, who offers almost nothing on offense.
It would be hard for the Niners to justify using a roster spot on a guy almost exclusively known for being a return specialist only. Ideally, San Francisco would slot someone into this role who could double as a backup elsewhere.
Mostert could fill this role, but it doesn’t seem likely the 49ers would elect to do things this way. He’ll likely be seeking out prospective suitors elsewhere come September.