At first glance, the Seahawks’ depth chart at running back looks pretty good. Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington will split time at tailback with Michael Robinson at fullback. However, don’t be surprised if the Seahawks use a pick or two in the upcoming draft to add talent and depth to this lineup.
Robinson missed several games due to injury last season, and the team felt his absence. A late round pick to add another fullback is not out of the question. The team has had a poor history of drafting fullbacks during the last few years, so signing a veteran free agent is also a possibility.
If the team adds another tailback, it will look for someone who can run inside the tackles with power and speed. In other words, someone similar to Lynch. Forsett and Washington will split the duties as the smaller, faster change-of-pace back in the Seahawks’ offense.
There are several good reasons for the team to go in this direction. Lynch is in the final year of his contract. If he has a good season, he could leave via free agency. Having someone already on the roster who can step right into his role makes sense. Lynch also has a violent, physical running style. It’s a pleasure to watch, but it makes Lynch much more susceptible to fatigue and injury. Drafting someone who can ease Lynch’s load or move into Lynch’s spot without having to dramatically change the offense will hopefully help keep everyone fresh as the season wears on.
More and more teams are relying on more than just one tailback. Having two “power” backs and two “speed” backs give the team a lot of options without restricting play calling as well as excellent insurance against possible injuries.
The team has pledged to improve the running game this season. Given the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback situation, it stands to reason that the running game needs to be more of a factor for Seattle no matter what happens. Any running backs that are drafted this week should be counted on to see playing time immediately. If the team trades down from the 25th selection, I fully expect a running back to be selected as a result of gaining the extra pick(s).