Justin Forsett needs a good Senior Bowl. In fact, he may need a great Senior Bowl to get on some draft radars.
But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clearly have the California senior on their radar. Forsett said he and Bucs college scouting director Dennis Hickey had a meeting on Monday. Running back is a moderate need for the Buccaneers, given the injury status of starter Carnell Williams and the possibility of free agency for Michael Pittman. Also, Michael Bennett is an unrestricted free agent.
Forsett (5-foot-8, 196 pounds) could end up being a great value. Right now draft boards have Forsett being selected in the seventh round, or even falling to undrafted free agent status.
That would be a stroke of luck for the Bucs, who certainly wouldn't mind adding a player of Forsett's ilk without making him a draft pick.
But one big week in Mobile could give Forsett's status a boost. But the smallish scat back needs to show scouts that he can be a complete back and not just a potential change-of-pace back.
"I want to show them I can catch the rock, too," Forsett said. "I want to show them that I can block and that I can run good routes. There's room for improvement in all of those areas and I just want to keep showing them that I'm consistent."
After the departure of Marshawn Lynch, Forsett proved that he could handle a full load of carries at the college level despite his size. He rushed for 1,546 yards on 305 carries (a 5.1-yard average) and tied a program high by scoring 15 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 202 yards, also career highs.
Forsett has been clocked as low as a 4.44 in the 40-yard dash and he showed off above-average burst during his first two days of workouts at the Senior Bowl. Speed is not the question when it comes to Forsett. It's durability and physical play that concern some scouts.
And a look at the teams that have spoken to Forsett so far reveals a group of teams that already have primary backs. The Rams, Seahawks and 49ers have also talked to Forsett.
It could be that Forsett is perceived by no NFL team as a back durable enough to handle a full NFL load.
But as a change of pace back? Perhaps one with the speed and skill similar to that of San Diego's Darren Sproles? That's a possibility Forsett is happy to explore if it gets his foot in the door of the NFL.
"I'm surprised anyone wants to talks to me," Forsett said. "It's a plus. I'll be there five minutes early if the want to talk."
Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.