With the NFL Draft coming up, Seahawks.com is taking a position-by-position look at where things currently stand on the Seahawks' roster, as well as the top prospects at each position. We'll also look at Seattle's draft history at each position under general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll.
The Seahawks currently hold 7 picks in the 2017 draft, which begins Thursday in Philadelphia.
- Round 1 | Pick 26 | No. 26 overall
- Round 2 | Pick 26 | No. 58 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 26 | No. 90 overall
- Round 3 | Pick 38 | No. 102 overall*
- Round 3 | Pick 42 | No. 106 overall*
- Round 6 | Pick 26 | No. 210 overall
- Round 7 | Pick 8 | No. 226 overall
So far we've covered the offensive line, defensive line, wide receiver, cornerback,tight end and safety. Today, we turn our attention to running back.
Draft History Under Schneider and 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)
- RB C.J. Prosise (No. 90, 2016)
- RB Alex Collins (No. 171, 2016)
- RB Zac Brooks (No. 247, 2016)
Where the Seahawks Stand
For a number of reasons, many of them health-related, the Seahawks' running game wasn't what they wanted it to be last season, and thanks to those injuries, they were frequently thin in the backfield, resulting in 11 different running backs and fullbacks recording a carry during the regular season—that number goes up to 18 ball carriers when you include quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends, the highest number in the NFL since the 1987 strike season, according to NFL Research.
Yet as bad as thing were at times last season, the Seahawks aren't heading into the draft feeling like they absolutely have to add to their running back group. Most notably, Seattle added former Green Bay Packers Pro-Bowler Eddie Lacy in free agency, a big, physical back who the Seahawks hope can help them get back to being balanced and physical on offense.
"Adding Eddie is an element that we wanted to add for the emphasis and the focus of returning to the formula that we know is championship," Carroll said last month and the NFL Annual Meetings. "… We had to throw the ball more, and it exposed some stuff. It exposed the young linemen somewhat, it forced us into situations on the other side of the ball, all of that. That's why I'm so adamant about getting us back to the elements that we need to have in the running game that complement the rest of the team. I'm not pointing the finger and blaming anyone, but that's what was so glaringly obvious. When Russell (Wilson) wasn't equipped to run, it factored into the running game in the subtle ways—over the years he has made us unique. In one respect, we've learned how to play without it and still win the division and all of that, and we'll be better for that, but that's not the way I want to go. So I'll try to avoid that as much as possible."
In addition to Lacy, the Seahawks are expecting big things from Thomas Rawls, who is healthy this offseason after dealing with leg injuries in each of his first two seasons, as well as two 2016 draft picks, C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins. Prosise was a dynamic playmaker as a runner and pass-catcher when healthy, but various injuries limited him to six games. He reported to offseason workouts noticeably bigger—"yoked up" as Carroll put it—in hopes of better withstanding the rigors of an NFL season, while Collins appears to have slimmed down a bit, a good sign for a player who, as Carroll noted late last season, came into camp a bit heavy as a rookie before losing some weight and seeing his production increase late in the season.
As last year showed, depth is important at running back, so it would hardly be a surprise to see the Seahawks add a back or two in the draft, but thanks to the addition of Lacy and the still-high expectations for Prosise, Rawls and Collins, the Seahawks shouldn't feel like they have to get another back early in the draft.
NFL Media Draft Expert Mike Mayock's Top 5 Running Backs
1. Leonard Fournette, LSU
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): High-end talent with rare blend of size, speed and power. Comparisons to Adrian Peterson feel lofty, but from a physical standpoint, he's there. Fournette doesn't have the wiggle to make defenders miss and his vision can be iffy. However, if your run fits and tackling aren't sound, he can take it the distance in an instant. May have durability concerns due to physical running style, but has All-Pro potential.
2. Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Multidimensional runner with flex appeal for teams looking for a player who can carry the ball 20 times or catch it 10 depending on the game plan. McCaffrey's size, power and speed are just average, but he is able to create yardage for himself with his vision and elusiveness. McCaffrey's ability to return punts and kicks could be the value sweetener that pushes his name into the first round.
3. Dalvin Cook, Florida State
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Very talented runner with outstanding balance, footwork and burst. Cook lacks the power that you may find with some running backs in this year's draft, but he is a homerun hitter with a resume featuring monster games against his most highly regarded opponents. Cook creates for himself with elusiveness and speed, but his value could be diminished by injuries, character and issues in pass protection. If everything checks out, he could become a rookie of the year candidate right away.
4. Alvin Kamara, Tennessee
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Ascending, competitive runner who has flashed explosive NFL talent at various times over the last two seasons. A committed runner with excellent balance who finds yardage that isn't blocked for him. While he has never logged 20 carries in a single game, he has the talent to play on all three downs if he can prove his durability.
T-5. Joe Mixon, Oklahoma
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): I've decided to give Joe Mixon a draft grade based on his talent and expected output if given a chance as an NFL running back. His draft slot will likely be impacted by his domestic violence issue. Mixon has the talent to be an every-down, all-day running back with the potential to take over a game on the ground or through the air. Life against weaker Big 12 defenses has created a more relaxed rushing approach for Mixon who will have to play at a faster pace as an NFL back. Mixon's vision is just average and he could struggle to create for himself in front of a subpar offensive line; however, he can play in any rushing scheme and can be moved all over the field as a matchup option.
T-5. Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
Bottom Line (via NFL.com): Jack-of-all trades but master of none, Samuel showed an ability to gain yardage and create scoring opportunities in a variety of ways on a talented Buckeyes offense. However, NFL teams will want to slot him into a more defined role, which is most likely at receiver. He is still learning the position and has separation quickness to create open throwing lanes, but while he's sharpening his route work, he could find early reps as a kick returner.
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Take a look at NFL Media Analyst Mike Mayock's top running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft.