Image Credit: Stan Szeto/ USA TODAY Sports
One thing is certain about the 49ers: the Mad Scientist head coach Kyle Shanahan can take absolutely any running back and get production out of them. When Shanahan left Atlanta, the Falcons saw Devonta Freeman’s and Tevin Coleman’s production of go down. When Coleman was reunited with Shanahan this season, he has certainly flashed like he did in 2016.
Matt Breida, an undrafted free agent in 2017, has been one of the most consistent running backs the 49ers have. If only he didn't have the injury issues he has had in his short career.
And then there is Raheem Mostert, an undrafted free agent in 2015.
After bouncing from team to team to team, Mostert didn't receive his first rushing attempt until joining San Francisco in 2016. John Lynch and Shanahan saw something in Mostert and gave him a three-year extension this past offseason.
Last week when Coleman couldn't get anything going against the Ravens’ defense, the 49ers turned to Mostert. He rushed for almost 150 yards and a touchdown, averaging over seven yards per attempt.
In 2015, you didn't know the name Raheem Mostert. Now people are considering putting Mostert into their fantasy lineups. A few weeks ago, while Coleman was out, I picked up Mostert on my fantasy team and someone said, “Aren't you worried about Coleman?” I said that I'm not convinced Coleman is a better running back than Mostert.
Matt Breida should be coming back versus the Saints and you cannot deny his ability to the run the ball. But, once again, Breida has durability issues. Mostert has earned the right to at least share the rushing duties along with Breida. And if Breida cannot go because he reaggravates his injury, then Mostert should be the lead running back. He runs with a fierceness and loves to hit people.
Mostert not only deserved to earn more attempts this season but could be the lead dog next season. I don't think we'll ever see Jerick McKinnon in a 49ers uniform during the regular season and Breida could potentially be on a different team next season as he's a restricted free agent. Mostert has earned his spot on this team and in that backfield. Give him the ball.
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