Justin Forsett won over quite a few Seattle fans with his aggressive and mostly effective play last season. Forsett averaged 5.4 yards per carry despite running behind a depleted line. He also protected the passer very effectively, showing that size matters less than desire in a lot of situations.
As noted Friday, Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. reached out to me regarding Forsett prior to White's release. He was thinking Forsett could lead the Seahawks in rushing next season. We were going to debate the merits of his thinking and we still could do that at some point. In the meantime, Williamson answered two questions I posed about Forsett.
Mike Sando: Why do you think Forsett will lead the team in rushing?
Matt Williamson: I realize that it is easy to say now that White has been let go, but I have felt all along that Forsett is the best candidate to lead Seattle in rushing this year. That isn't to say that he would have scored the most touchdowns or been the best fantasy running back. But my reasoning is actually very simple. Forsett is a very good running back. Leon Washington is still injured. White is/was not a very good running back. I found it curious that the new Seattle staff was so excited to add veteran running back help, but my hunch is that the more they were around Forsett and the more they knew about the team they were taking over, the more they would realize that he is just a much better runner than White is. I am a very big fan of Washington, but the reports just are not favorable right now for him to be ready in the near future.
Mike Sando: What is Forsett's potential and what are his limitations?
Matt Williamson: While I obviously like Forsett quite a bit, the high level of play he showed last year is probably playing over his head just a bit. This is especially true when you factor in that he is sure to wear down to some degree as the season goes on and obviously he isn't the biggest ball carrier around. But, flat out -- and I realize this isn't exactly expert scouting analysis -- Forsett can play. He runs bigger than his size indicates. He has a great feel for finding open space. His vision is superb and he is patient in setting up his blocks. Plus, he maximizes every run by not ducking out of bounds and by consistently falling forward on contact. He runs low and shows some power while playing the game with a chip on his shoulder -- as do many runners who don't enter the league as a real high draft pick.
His limitations are -- like I mentioned -- that we really have no idea how well he can hold up for the long haul and a 16-game season is no walk in the park for someone with his dimensions and competitive style. Also, what I think will always hold him back is that he just has average long speed and he probably will not consistently break off real long runs. He certainly isn't slow, but he isn't as explosive or flat-out fast as other smaller backs like Maurice Jones-Drew, Jamaal Charles or Chris Johnson.
Mike Sando: The thing about Forsett is that he usually has an answer for those who question him. Some were clamoring for more Forsett and less Julius Jones early last season. I pointed out at the time that Forsett was not getting the ball within the base offense and it was therefore tough to compare his production to Jones' production. That was true, but Forsett subsequently showed he could run well across more situations. Can he do that game after game for a 16-game schedule? That really isn't the point. The point is that Forsett can play and should have a role in the offense unless the Seahawks have better options.