Philadelphia Eagles: Raheem Mostert has gone legit in San Francisco

(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

After signing with the Philadelphia Eagles as a UDFA out of Purdue, Raheem Moster has become a legit offensive contributor for the San Francisco 49ers.

When the Philadelphia Eagles signed Raheem Moster as an undrafted free agent in 2015, it was to do one thing and one thing alone: Return kicks.

While it certainly feels blunt to condense an entire player’s potential to a single skill set, basically disregarding Moster’s abilities at his natural position, it wasn’t particularly surprising for the then-23-year-old rookie; it was basically his calling card.

Even over his four-year tenure at Purdue, Moster never led his team in rushing, trailing fellow class of 2014 commit Akeem Hunt by a combined 2,035 yards and 11 touchdowns to a meager 759 yards and six touchdowns.

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In 2012 and 2013, Moster only recorded 122 rushing yards combined – making the then-junior a basically non-factor in draft rooms.

But through it all, Moster kept his head down and did what he did best: Return kicks.

Only, Moster didn’t even do that exclusively for the Boilermakers, as Hunt once again lapped the New Smyrna Beach, Florida native in both 2013 and 2014 despite appearing in five more games.

But through it all, Chip Kelly saw something in Moster he liked – maybe his 4.34 40 yard dash – and signed him to a free-agent contract. While Moster obviously didn’t make the final 53 man roster, losing out to eventual Super Bowl champion Kenjon Barner, he spent his rookie season split over three different teams and reunited with the man who initially took a chance on him in San Francisco the following season – his seventh stop in two seasons.

Fast forward four years, and Moster remains gainfully employed by the 49ers – and has outlasted three different head coaches, including fittingly enough Kelly.

While Moster initially remained an almost exclusively special teamer, he slowly, slowly started to earn snaps on offense – finishing out 2018 with 261 rushing yards.

Granted, 12 quarterbacks finished out 2018 with more rushing yards, and the paltry total was the fourth-highest total on the 49ers, but it accounted for 90 percent of Moster’s offensive production over his then-four-year NFL career, and highlighted a potential role going into 2019.

Armed with a renewed sense of confidence, a new-look backfield, and a brand new three-year, $8.4 million deal, Moster has earned an average of 10.1 carries a game for the 4-0 Niners and amassed 236 yards – effectively doubling his career total in four weeks of action.

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Will Kyle Shanahan‘s continued commitment to getting Raheem Moster offensive touches continue now that Tevin Coleman has returned to full strength, and fellow UDFA Matt Breida has fully come into his own? Only time will tell, but after sharing touches in college with a now-retired Akeem Hunt and only making an NFL roster for his speed and returnability, it’s clear the Philadelphia Eagles’ little return man who could has blossomed into a legitimate NFL running back. They glow up so fast.