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2015 NFL Draft Preview: Running Backs

The Seahawks signed Marshawn Lynch to a contract extension this past March, but is a running back still on their draft-day radar?

Leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, which is set to take place from April 30 - May 2 in Chicago, Ill., will take a position-by-position look at this year's top prospects.

Along the way, we'll rehash the team's past draft picks at each position under Executive VP/General Manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll and also provide an outline of where the team currently stands at each spot.

Seattle owns 11 selections in this year's draft - one in the second round (No. 63 overall), one in the third (No. 95), three in the fourth (Nos. 112, 130 & 134), two in the fifth (Nos. 167 & 170), three in the sixth (Nos. 181, 209 & 214), and one in the seventh (No. 248).

We led our draft preview series with a look at the offensive and defensive lines. We continue today with the running backs, a position that hasn't been selected in the first round since 2012.

Draft History (Under Schneider & Carroll)

RB Robert Turbin (No. 106 overall, 2012), RB Christine Michael (No. 62 overall, 2013), RB Spencer Ware* (No. 194 overall, 2013), FB Kiero Small* (No. 227, 2014)

** signifies a player no longer with the team *

Where The Seahawks Stand

The Seahawks pulled off arguably the most-important move of their offseason to date when they extended the contract of Marshawn Lynch.

This past March, the Seattle running back inked a deal with the club that will keep him in the Pacific Northwest through the 2017 season. Prior to finalizing the new contract, Schneider and Carroll had said Lynch, who turns 29 today, was contemplating retirement. The fact the Seahawks were able to bring "Beast Mode" back for his ninth NFL season should not go overlooked. After all, all Lynch has done is lead the team in rushing through each of the past five seasons, efforts that included an NFL-high 17 touchdowns and 1,306 of Seattle's franchise record 2,762 yards on the ground last year.

Drafting a running back in 2015 appeared more likely before Lynch's recent deal. But with Lynch in the mix, 2012 fourth-round pick Robert Turbin in place as a high-quality No. 2, and third-year pro Christine Michael eagerly awaiting more snaps, the spot appears to be less of a concern now than it was earlier this spring. It should be noted, however, that the Seahawks seemed relatively "set" at running back before taking Michael with their first pick two years ago. It's a scenario that goes to show any position is a possibility when working with Carroll and Schneider's unique draft approach.

NFL Media Draft Analyst Mike Mayock shares his top five running backs set to enter this year's draft. 

NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Running Backs

1. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 6-1, 215 lbs

Draft Projection (via Round 1

Bottom Line (via Angular, talented open-field runner who combines outstanding burst with a long stride to gain separation and hit the home run. He won't be able to outrun NFL defenders like he did in college and must develop more feel between the tackles. Gordon shines when his track runs over tackle or around the end and can put a defense to sleep around the corner. Not trustworthy enough to be a three-down back, but his pass-catching improved enough to utilize him out of backfield as a receiver.

2. Todd Gurley, Georgia, 6-1, 222 lbs

Draft Projection (via 1

Bottom Line (via rehab work and NFL Scouting Combine medicals will be extremely important for Gurley's draft stock as teams assess his potential durability as an NFL running back. He played less than 40 percent of his team's offensive snaps over the last three years, so there is plenty of tread still on the tires. Has the talent to be a top-five NFL running back, but ACL tear clouds the short-term picture.

3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska, 5-9, 205 lbs

Draft Projection (via 2

Bottom Line (via having first-round talent, Abdullah's lack of preferred NFL size and issues with ball security might cause some teams to shy away from him in the opening round. Abdullah has explosive potential as a runner and ball-catcher and is a natural zone-scheme fit. His high character will make him a hit during interview process.

4. Duke Johnson, Miami (Fla.), 5-9, 207 lbs

Draft Projection (via 2 or 3

Bottom Line (via of the most explosive runners in college football during his time at Miami, Johnson doesn't need much of a crease to make defenses pay. His explosive quickness and elusiveness should help him adapt quickly to NFL speed. His feel and courage as a one-cut runner should earn him instant playing time. Johnson's lack of pass-protection skills and concerns about his durability could force him into a committee situation. He's perfectly suited for a role as a zone-scheme back.

T-5. Tevin Coleman, Indiana, 5-11, 206 lbs

Draft Projection (via 2 or 3

Bottom Line (via violent running style is a joy to watch, but might have to be tempered to extend his career. He is a "race car in the red" on just about every snap and refuses to give in, which leads to many big runs. The biggest concern for teams about Coleman is the uncertainty about whether he can become a more patient runner and improve as a tackle-breaker. Has the burst and top-end speed to be a game-changing running back for a team looking for a workhorse.

T-5. T.J. Yeldon, Alabama, 6-1, 226 lbs

Draft Projection (via 2 or 3

Bottom Line (via, athletic running back who has the foot quickness to create for himself when lanes constrict or blocks are missed. Yeldon lacks the ball security, top-end speed and desired tackle breaking to be a full-time starter. He's a versatile, rotational back with the ability to step in and step up.


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