With the move of putting running back Lorenzo Taliaferro to injured reserve on Wednesday, the Ravens had a depth issue they had to resolve. Only Justin Forsett and rookie Javorious Allen were the active running backs on the roster for the Ravens, so they added a young rusher to help out. Enter Raheem Mostert.
Mostert is an undrafted free agent from Purdue that originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles out of the draft. Then grabbed by the Miami Dolphins, Mostert was only used as a returner in a single game for the Dolphins, accumulating 57 yards on 2 kick returns.
Little is known about Mostert as a player except that he had led the NFL in yards from the line of scrimmage during the preseason with 351 total yards (157 on the ground, 191 through the air). Since Mostert is such a young player with very little tape on him, we look to Purdue to scout him out and SB Nation's Hammer & Rails blog for the Purdue Boilermakers. Here is what they had to say about the quick running back.
Mostert had modest numbers when playing within the offense throughout his career, but that is because we didn't quite know how to use him. As a kickoff returner, however, he is the best we have seen at Purdue. No one has more than his 2,289 kickoff return yards. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns, one in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl as a freshman and one in 2013 at Penn State. In 2011 he led the nation in kickoff return average.
Aside from kick returns he did not do much offensively. His senior season was his best, where he was second on the team in rushing with 529 yards and three touchdowns after a full-time move to running back. He also caught 18 passes for 116 yards after having a single reception for six yards in his first three years total. He had 759 rushing and six touchdowns in his career, with the vast majority coming this past season. Against both Minnesota and Western Michigan he topped 100 yards rushing. A 69-yard run against the Gophers was his longest run.
If you want straight up blinding speed you won't find many better than Mostert. He was one of the fastest players in college football and one of the fastest collegiate runners period after qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the indoor and outdoor events in 2014. He was even named the Great Lakes Track Athlete of the Year.
Mostert has always been a kickoff specialist. Before coming to Purdue he returned nine kickoffs and a punt for touchdowns in his senior year of high school. If he gets the football in space he is gone in a flash, and he has a stride that doesn't even look that fast. His speed is an easy speed. When he hits that last gear no one can catch him.
Does Mostert have a real position other than as a returner? That was his biggest problem at Purdue. He was a receiver at first, but lined up mostly as a running back to get the ball in his hands more. He did not have the best hands, but they improved over time. His greatest asset by far is his speed. He is not the best between the tackles runner, but in space he can be special.
Mostert is not going to be an every down back in the NFL. He might not even get a single carry. If a team is looking to improve its return game, however, Mostert would be an excellent choice. He can go in the 6th or 7th round of the draft, and if he doesn't he will surely be a free agent signing somewhere with the hopes of making the roster as a return specialist.