Rookie running backs have a way of unexpectedly standing out in the preseason. They’re like the unknown friend of a friend who ends up being the life of the party. Half the time, the friend of a friend is intriguing only because he or she is a new face. It’s the same case with running backs. Some have just one enticing attribute–usually speed–that glistens in August around roster long-shots abbreviated playbooks. But some rookie runners show true potential. Here are three surprising running backs who have stood out thus far.
Justin Forsett, Seattle Seahawks
The one-year starter at Cal wasn’t drafted until the seventh round. With Julius Jones, Maurice Morris and T.J. Duckett already wearing Seahawk blue, Mike Holmgren has said that Forsett’s best chance at a roster spot is as a return specialist. Forsett looked great in Seattle’s second preseason game, punishing the Bears with two kick returns totaling 70 yards and five punt returns for 47 yards (he also had a 43-yard return called back for holding).
More intriguing was that the 5’8″, 194-pounder was a monster in the ground game. Forsett owned the second half and overtime, rushing 15 times for 136 yards and a touchdown. He has electrifying quickness and startling formidability after contact.
Because of injuries to Deion Branch and Bobby Engram, the Seahawks may have to sacrifice a running back slot on the 53-man roster for a wide receiver. If they do, they should cut Maurice Morris. After all, isn’t Forsett doing exactly what Morris has been unable to do for several years?