What can Raheem Mostert do for an encore?
For starters, he’d like to become a more productive piece of the 49ers passing game in 2020.
The 28-year-old running back had a breakout season for San Francisco in 2019 while finishing the season as the team’s No. 1 ball carrier. He rushed 137 times during the regular season for 772 yards and eight touchdowns, with an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Then in three postseason games he was even better, rushing for 336 yards and five TDs, including a dynamic 220-yard game vs. the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.
But in 53 career NFL games (combined regular season and postseason), Mostert has just 23 catches for 213 yards.
Mostert says he needs to work to become a better receiver and make plays out of the backfield in passing situations.
“I don’t want to be just one-dimensional,” he told a reporter recently. “I want to be multi-dimensional, and being able to catch the ball out of the backfield is one of the things I really pride myself on. Even lining up in the slot position.
“There’s multiple things I’ve been trying to work on. I’m trying to get back to, you know, my wide receiver days when I was playing receiver in college. Just getting back used to everything and doing everything.”
At Purdue, Mostert played 32 games as a wide receiver in his first three seasons (2011-2013) before making the switch to running back in 2014. In those three seasons as a wideout, he was little used, with just one reception, however. Mostert – who also ran track – didn’t make a splash until his senior year when he rushed for 529 yards and caught 18 passes for 116 yards.
Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has become a huge fan of Mostert. Getting Mostert’s speed into the passing game to create mismatches and big-play opportunities is something he’d love.
“He’s faster than most people, and I think sometimes it’s a little bit deceptive,” Shanahan said of Mostert late in the 2019 season, when Mostert was on a roll. “I mean, you see guys who have an angle on him, and all of a sudden, they just don’t.”