Ravens sign SPARC freak athlete, running back Raheem Mostert


Sep 3, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Raheem Mostert (48) runs with the ball against New York Jets safety Rontez Miles (45) and corner back Keon Lyn (42) during the third quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Eagles 24-18. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

More disappointing injury news came to us Wednesday as the Baltimore Ravens placed sophomore running back Lorenzo Taliaferro on injured reserve after he has unsuccessfully tried to overcome a foot injury all season.  It left the Ravens with only two backs on the active roster – Justin Forsett and rookie Buck Allen.

The Ravens quickly found a replacement in the form of Raheem Mostert, a back who many fans will be familiar with.  Mostert signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this summer as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Purdue to battle with a crowded backfield for a roster spot.

Mostert proceeded to rip up the preseason, racking up 361 yards on 53 carries (6.8 yards per carry).  His best performance came in the finale against the Jets, when he turned 23 carries into 162 yards.  Mostert was waived after he couldn’t beat out Chip Kelly favorite Kenjon Barner at final cuts.

The Eagles signed Mostert to their practice squad, but only a week later was plucked away by the Miami Dolphins.  Miami called him up off the practice squad only to waive him Tuesday, after which the Ravens decided to give the young man a shot.

The most enticing aspect of Mostert’s game is his athleticism.  He received the 3rd highest SPARQ score of all running backs in the 2015 NFL Draft class, behind only David Johnson and Ameer Abdullah.

For those unfamiliar with SPARQ (Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, and Quickness), it is a rating system created by Nike which is used to assign a grade to a player’s athletic ability in a manner that is specific to their sport by using weighed measurements.

Many college and pro teams have begun using these grades as a means for player evaluation, including the Seahawks, who have used it when drafting or signing players since 2010.  Like any method of evaluation SPARQ is by no means perfect, but it is a very useful way to measure an athlete’s potential.

Raheem Mostert’s raw potential and athleticism are obvious draws, and he certainly flashed NFL caliber potential this preseason.  It’s a nice upside signing for the Ravens, who could have just as easily signed a low upside veteran.

And with Justin Forsett nursing an ankle injury and only unproven rookie Buck Allen behind him, Mostert might see at least a little playing time sooner rather than later.  Allen has failed to impress this season outside of a 44 yard scamper last week.

Mostert should also bring some special teams value with him after returning 88 kicks in his college career at Purdue, racking up 2289 yards (26.0 avg) and 2 touchdowns.

Used sparingly as a running back, he didn’t see a significant number of carries until his senior year, when Mostert toted the rock 93 times for 529 yards (5.7 avg) and 3 touchdowns.  He also caught 18 passes for 116 yards.

The bottom line is, the Ravens have signed a guy who has a ton of potential.  At least in the short term Mostert can be a valuable addition to special teams, and he has the ability to potentially develop into more.  With an unsettled backfield in Baltimore, there’s a ton of opportunity available.

Next: Ravens promote TV star to active roster

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