Justin Forsett Quietly One of the NFL’s Best Backs in 2014


Sep 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

For a guy who was contemplating life after football following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars this past offseason, Justin Forsett sure has capitalized on his opportunity with the Baltimore Ravens.  Despite entering the season as a potential future cut, or at best a change of pace back, Forsett has quietly posted stats that are among the NFL’s best through four games.

Forsett is leading the NFL in yards per carry with 5.8 (over 30 attempts).  That’s a stout number in a league where few backs can get above 5.0.  And while you can point to the Raven’s excellent offensive line as one of the reasons for his success, Forsett is breaking tackles and creating yards on his own as well.  Just refer back to last Sunday’s touchdown run as the diminutive Forsett works his way to paydirt against multiple Panther’s defenders as an example.

Justin Forsett also has the seventh best ranking among all qualifying running backs by Pro Football Focus with a 3.4.  His ten missed tackles is 13th in the league even though he only has 44 attempts.  He has picked up 125 yards after contact on those carries, which is good for a 10th best 2.9 average.

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Forsett has been efficient in the passing game as well, solidifying his reputation as a dual purpose back.  He ranks 7th in the league in drop rate with only one drop on 18 targets.  Forsett also ranks 16th in yards per route run.

And perhaps most impressively, the 5’8″ 190 pound back is 3rd in the NFL in running back pass blocking efficiency.  He has been charged with a mere one hurry on passing plays when he has been tasked with pass protection responsibility.

It’s really no surprise that the Ravens trusted Justin Forsett with the start last week against the Carolina Panthers, or that we have seen his role gradually grow in the offense.  While he may never dominate carries and will likely always share time with one of Lorenzo Taliaferro or Bernard Pierce, the story of Justin Forsett’s rebirth is one of the NFL’s best this season.