Chargers Prospect Analysis: Halfback, Part II

Jaime Cattano continues her three-part series examining the running back prospects the Chargers met with during the Senior Bowl week. One such player reminded the Bolts of Darren Sproles with his suddenness and agility. Will the Chargers pull the trigger and assemble the quickest backfield in the NFL?

California running back Justin Forsett met with the Chargers for a private meeting at the Senior Bowl. San Diego was just one of many teams to request time with the electrifying back, as Forsett also met with coaches from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.

"The meetings are about anything from on-the-field performance to issues off the field. They want to know about my family, background, things I've have been through and if I have any kind of (criminal) record," he said.

Forsett, a first team All Conference honoree, led the Pac-10 with 15 touchdowns and ranked second in rushing (118.9 yards per game). The former Bear set a single-season record with 305 carries and tied for second in career 100-yard rushing games (15).

At 5-foot-8, 184 pounds, Forsett lacks the ideal size for a running back in the NFL. The Chargers, however, might see it differently. Forsett's talents closely mirror those of Darren Sproles (5'6", 181 pounds). Both have powerful builds, quick feet and stellar ball security.

"I'm a universal player and very team-oriented. I'm a hard worker and will do anything I can to help the team out," Forsett said.

Forsett runs a 4.45-second 40 -- a mere .05 seconds shy of Sproles' time -- and totes the rock with a powerful body lean. His hands stretch a massive 10.5" in length and he put them to work at the Senior Bowl. Securing the ball on every play, he proved to be a daunting receiver out of the backfield.

"I think I put on a good performance," Forsett said. "I needed to do my best out there, go full speed every play and just give it 100 percent."

Already known as a remarkable cut-back runner with alluring initial bursts of speed, Forsett knew he had to prove his high football IQ, as well.

"The coaches are giving us plays that some of them run and they want to see how we can adjust," he said. "It's really important that we know what they're looking for in each play and what they want to see on the field."

In Mobile, Ala., the coaches were looking to see how Forsett would handle himself in pass protection. Many questioned if his small frame could handle blitz pickups.

"I want to show that I can definitely get nasty and block," Forsett responded.

And how would he feel if he had to block someone like Shawne Merriman every day during practice?

"It would be a dream come true."

The Chargers have a keen interest in Forsett, who could fill the void Michael Turner is soon to leave in the roster. Forsett has the same body control and fluid alacrity Sproles demonstrates, plus better between-the-tackles instincts. His elusive running and unsullied receiving ability would add another element to San Diego's offense.

Forsett would love to remain in state and begin his NFL career with the Chargers.

"It's crazy how close I am right now," he said. "I need to give it everything I've got to get there."


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