Raheem Mostert burst into the spotlight in 2019. The 49ers running back came into last season with just 42 carries over his four NFL seasons, but became his team’s best ball carrier as the season progressed.
Following injuries to Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman, Mostert got his opportunity. He carried 137 times in the regular season, gained 772 yards rushing, averaged 5.6 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 180 yards and two more TDs.
His biggest day came in the NFC Championship Game, when he rushed for 220 yards and four TDs in a victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Now, as the 49ers look ahead to 2020, Mostert wants to show he’s an elite NFL running back.
After being an undrafted free agent after coming out of Purdue, and then bouncing around the league, Mostert goes into 2020 as perhaps the team’s No. 1 back – and he wants to keep producing all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
As he thinks back to that moment after the NFC title game, when he was honored for his performance – and had his son at his side – Mostert can reflect on how far he’s come and how far he wants to go.
“It was just one of those things for me when I just soaked it all in and looked back on my track record and the things that I’ve done, it really opened up my eyes that, ‘Hey, look, I did this.’ ” Mostert said recently in an interview on Pat McAfee’s YouTube show. “I mean, why stop? Just keep going. Keep doing the right things, the necessary things, in order to be great. That’s something I want to me, man. I want to be able to have a (Hall of Fame) gold jacket, and the only way to do that is to be great.”
As Nick Shook of NFL.com notes, Mostert must keep producing to be Kyle Shanahan’s go-to running back, and that’s not easy. Shanahan likes to use multiple running backs and feed the one who’s hot. And the Niners still have Breida, Coleman, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. Plus, San Francisco could add another back in the draft that begins April 23.
But, Mostert has confidence and a work ethic and drive that have served him well.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, nobody will,” Mostert said at the end of last season. “I never thought I’d be in this position. But it’s one of those things where I always had the belief in myself to get there.”