POSITION: Running back.
MEASURABLES: 6-foot-2, 217, 4.44 in the 40.
COLLEGE CAREER: In 2007, Forte' gained 620 yards in a two-game span (vs. Southern Methodist and Memphis), the most by a Division 1-A runner since Ricky Williams of Texas gained 668 yards in 1998 (318 vs. Rice and 350 vs. Iowa State). His 2007 three-game span of 829 yards (vs. Southern Methodist, Memphis and Alabama-Birmingham) are the most gained by a Division 1-A runner in three consecutive contests since Sanders totaled 937 yards in 1988. His four-game streak of 1,031 yards (vs. Southern Methodist, Memphis, Alabama-Birmingham and Army) is the most in Division 1-A history since Sanders piled up 1,152 yards in 1988.
PROJECTED AS: To some he's a situational back that could best be used in a tandem backfield. To others, he's one of the most complete backs in the draft, one that could be a productive No. 1 back.
ARE THE SAINTS INTERESTED: The Saints met with Forte last week.
DRAFT VALUE: Forte could go as high as the second round, but most mocks have him coming off the board in the third.
SCOUT.COM'S TOM MARINO'S ANALYSIS: This is a highly productive, between the tackles runner who moves the pile and breaks secured tackles. Not nifty or elusive, but gets north-south quickly and finishes everything. Can catch and advance the ball. Doesn't have breakaway speed, but at game's end he did a lot of positive things. Appears to thrive on work. An excellent red zone runner.
WHAT OTHER SERVICES ARE SAYING:
"Forte' might lack explosive speed, but his lower body strength, balance and body control allow him to shift his weight, sink his pads and drive through arm tackles. He is an efficient receiver out of the backfield and adds to his resume as a gunner on special teams. He quietly goes about his job and is slowly developing into a solid cut blocker. He seems to get stronger as the game wears on and has made steady progress recovering from late 2006 knee problems." — NFLDraftscout.com
"Forte did not receive much publicity before senior season. He looks great on film but was even more impressive at the Senior Bowl, proving he is quicker and more athletic than expected. Forte will not "wow" anyone in pre-draft workouts, but he is a better, more complete back than a number of prospects who will turn in superior workouts and get drafted ahead of him. In time, Forte will become a good NFL starter who handles 20-plus touches per game." — Sportingnews.com War Room.
MATTHEW POSTINS' BOTTOM LINE: You know how sometimes you'll walk through your own house and stumble onto something you never knew you had? That's kind of how I felt when I saw Forte at the Senior Bowl. He was just good at everything — rushing, receiving, blocking and intangibles. He was easily the best running back during practices that week, and the fact that he's had a better-than-expected scouting period leads me to believe that Forte is gaining momentum toward being a competent NFL starter. There are plenty of teams that could use Forte's all-around abilities. How would he fit in with the Saints? Well, he would have to be the more physical back to Reggie Bush. Forte could probably gain the weight necessary without losing too much speed. Now that Deuce McAllister is back — for now — running back may not be a primary need. But if Forte is there in the third round and the Saints have any question at all about McAllister's availability this season or beyond, they could do a lot worse than selecting Forte. I think he's going to be a player we'll look back on in three years and slap our foreheads as if to say, "How did we not see it" when he's putting together 1,000-yard seasons.
You can read more of Matthew Postins' coverage of the New Orleans Saints at saintsinsider.com.