For most players, a long career in the NFL is an exception, rather than the rule. Kickers and Quarterbacks have the longest shelf life, with the average career lasting over 4.4 years, yet the league average is only 3.3. Which puts the amazing achievements of Frank Gore into perspective.
Running backs are not valued the same way as QBs and Offensive Lineman, with Statista reporting the average career only lasts 2.57 years.
After going undrafted in 2015, Raheem Mostert should already be on the shelf, but he is preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl as one of the biggest emerging running stars in the league.
Going into the 2019 campaign, the Purdue graduate had only attempted 42 rushes in his NFL career. This season he’s been trusted to run the ball over 170 times, a massive departure from the man who had been dumped by five teams since entering the league.
"I've been on seven different teams … before every game I look at the cut dates."
Raheem Mostert reflects on his journey after a record-breaking NFC Championship performance 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ykezoDJbxX
— ESPN (@espn) January 20, 2020
Penny for the thoughts of the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. Even the San Francisco 49ers themselves let him go in 2016 after one game but signing him up for special teams the next year, their initial mistake has been rectified.
Before the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, Mostert had only once rushed for over 100 yards – 146 against the Ravens in 19 attempts – but this was a season of committee. At Levi Stadium against an impressive defensive line, the 27-year-old got the nod and with help from one of the best OL’s in the NFL, in 29 attempts he cleared 200 yards and scored four touchdowns.
Finishing with 220 yards, it will be a performance remembered for a long time to come, but it is sustainable and repeatable?
Kyle Shanahan revealed on Friday that Tevin Coleman has recovered from a dislocated shoulder and is good to go.
The over/under for Mostert currently sits at 15.5. Only twice this season has the running back exceed that number. As everyone looks to back a big game on the ground, including the Chiefs, Coleman could be heavily involved, making the under a very interesting pick at 17/20.
However, we like to be positive, and even though the Packers knew what was coming, they couldn’t find a way to push the OL and limit Mostert. They faced a similar threat during the AFC Championship game in Derrick Henry and managed to keep him down to 69 yards in 19 attempts. But Arthur Smith’s line is not in the same league as the Niners.
🏄The NFC Championship turned into a Raheem Mostert clinic 🏄@RMos_8Ball
🚨 220 rushing yards on 29 carries
🚨 4 rushing TD
🚨 Single postseason game rushing record set @49ers | #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/4GhTrWk5L9
— NFL (@NFL) January 20, 2020
This is the second-best running attack in terms of yards per game against the 26th worst run defence. Even if Defensive Tackle Chris Jones is 100%, he’s still been injured and will need to be at his very best.
In 16 games, the Chiefs have conceded 1736 yards to running backs. That’s an average of 108.5. Only the Ravens have rushed more than the Niners this season, with 498 attempts, averaging 31.1 per game. That means, even with Coleman, there is space for Mostert to get 20 touches. His average of 5.6 yards per attempt would put him on course for over 100 yards.
This is Mostert’s season. The NFC Championship game could be his Everest, but he will want to prove he’s not a flash in the pan. Turn up in Miami and take over the game and his status will be assured.
*All odds correct at time of publication