With the 2016 NFL season now in the books, and the 2017 league year not yet upon us, now is a good time to take a look at where things stand with the Seahawks roster. Over the next two weeks, we'll take a position-by-position look at the Seahawks, both looking back at the 2016 season and looking ahead to 2017. Today, the focus is on running back.
The Seahawks liked the talent they had at running back headed into 2016, but injuries played a big role in the Seahawks struggling to run the ball the way they had been accustomed to in recent years. Starter Thomas Rawls worked his way back from the ankle injury that ended his 2015 season, only to sustain a leg fracture in Week 2 that caused him to miss seven games. Rookie C.J. Prosise showed flashes of brilliance, but various injuries limited him to six games, in which he averaged an impressive 5.7 yards per carry. Both Rawls and Prosise showed enough when healthy to have the Seahawks excited about what the running game could look like going forward, but they didn't get to see enough of that in 2016.
"Thomas was banged up the whole time and it was hard for him to overcome it and get through it," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "We saw what he's like when he's right, and we were counting on Thomas being at that point when he returned (from the 2015 injury), and unfortunately he broke his leg in the Rams game, differently than the other injury… It took a while for him to get back, and when we did see him, you saw the player that we love, and we missed him during the year. Where C.J. might have had the chance to give us a spark, because we saw him return you know, the big game he had against New England, one of the best teams in football, and the impact he played. He comes back the next game and he goes 70-something yards with a touchdown, how many things is he going to do beyond that during the rest of the season? We miss those guys, that's just part of it. That's what happens during the season. That's why some teams are able to keep rolling and we didn't have the consistency that we could latch on to when we wanted to finish."
Notable Number: 18
The number of players with at least one rushing attempt for the Seahawks during the 2016 season. That number includes quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends and even punter Jon Ryan, but even if you take all of those players out of the discussion, the Seahawks still had 11 different running backs or fullbacks carry the ball.
The Seahawks are willing to commit offseason resources to this position group, as they showed in last year's draft when they selected three running backs, so even though they like what they have in Rawls, Prosise and Alex Collins, it wouldn't be surprising to see them continue to add competition to that group.
At fullback, the Seahawks will have to decide if they want to bring back Marcel Reece, a former four-time Pro Bowler who signed late in the season, and who made some significant contributions to the offense.
What The Future Holds
Again, the Seahawks see a bright future in the players they have on the roster, but the key in 2017 will be to get those players through a season healthier than they were last year. Rawls led the NFL in rushing yards per carry in 2015, Prosise was a dynamic playmaker as a runner and receiver in limited playing time as a rookie, and Collins showed considerable improvement late in his rookie year, so there is plenty of reason for optimism for this group if Rawls and Prosise can stay on the field more often next season. In addition to whatever players might be added this offseason, the Seahawks also have a handful of backs on their 90-man roster who spent most or all of last season on injured reserve, so there should be a deep competition for jobs in camp this summer.
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Wide Receiver
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Offensive Line
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Cornerback
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Defensive Line
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Quarterback
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Safety
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Linebacker
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Tight End
- Offseason Position Breakdown: Special Teams
The best photos from Seahawks practices at Virginia Mason Athletic Center throughout the 2016 season.