Why The Seahawks Drafted A RB With Their First Pick

Oct 13, 2012; Shreveport, LA, USA; Texas A

One of the biggest and most common questions that I keep being asked is: “Why did the Seahawks use their top pick on a RB, when they already have Lynch and Turbin, and when there were bigger needs on the roster?”

The answer to that question is a complex one. Part of it has to do with the talent that was available, but was clearly not the deciding factor here. Christine Michael is an amazing talent, but it is difficult to make a case for him being definitely better some of the other players who were available.

From the interviews given by both Pete Carroll and John Schneider, and from what we know of the team’s contract situation, we know that all three of the below factors contributed to the decision to draft Michael. I just have no idea which of these 3 factors weighed most heavily in this choice. 

The Team’s Offensive Identity

Russell Wilson may be the face of the franchise, but Marshawn Lynch is still the identity of the offense. Everything the Seahawks do is based around his ability to run the football.

So what would happen if Lynch was injured and had to miss time? Robert Turbin’s acquisition a year ago gave the team some insurance against this, but not enough. If Turbin was forced to into the starting lineup, there wouldn’t be anyone to pick up his old share of the carries.

The team would also be be just 1 nasty hit away from not having it’s identity anymore. Likely, if either Lynch or Turbin were injured, the Seahawks would be forced to run less to try and avoid a 2nd injuy, and thus would put more pressure on the defense and Wilson in order to win games.

Michael provides the team with a 3rd option, which will remove all concerns about the team’s ability to stick to it’s running identity if there is an injury.

Keeping Marshawn Healthy

Lynch came to Seattle in 2010 with a nagging back issue that has never gone away. He already doesn’t practice on Wednesdays in an effort to manage the condition. In 2011, Lynch missed the Cleveland game unexpectedly when his back flared up on him unexpectedly on game day. 

Lynch also wore down in 2012 in a way. While his overall yards and yards per carry remained high, his yards after contact dropped as the year went on.

Having Michael take carries away from Lynch throughout the year will help keep Lynch healthy and ready to unleash his “beast mode” once the playoffs begin.

Future Cost Reduction

The upcoming cap problems for the Seahawks are well documented. Russell Wilson, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are going to be paid very well, and the money to pay those 3 is going to have to come from other positions.

Lynch is still among the best in the backs in the NFL, but in 2 years he’s likely to be on the decline. At that time, the team will be able to save $7.5 million in cap room if they choose to move on from him to a younger option.

The problem with that idea is that Lynch is such a huge part of this offense. There’s no way the team can make that decision unless the back who’ll replace him is already on the team and has proven he can get the job done.

Getting Michael on the roster now gives the team a chance to evaluate him and make the final call on whether or not he can truly be the heir to Seahawk’s running game.

Topics: Christine Michael, Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

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  • jim passi

    as much as we all love lynch most RB dont last long
    they must plan for life after lynch they would be fools if they did not
    & they are NOT fools who would i want on my teem both wowzers
    guess who’s comming to the party

  • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

    In addition to the reasons posted, there was a need at RB. Schneider constantly harps that the Hawks grade for themselves, not for the league, which means that you weigh your needs vs available at each position and grade it (probably on a curve due to the strength of need). So if Michael was the top of their board, that means it was a need that was going to be filled with the most upside available for the TEAM at that position. You can’t pass that up in rounds 1-4 if you’re comfortable in your process, as the Hawks are. In 5, 6 and 7 it gets more dicey weighing needs vs best available.

  • jim passi

    to keep lynch in tip top shape send him to gorge beppu
    he will have him feeling like he was 18
    lynch if your reading this beppu in on 1600 washington st. in seattle
    i fell of my roof landed on my hand rail i was bent outa shape
    he fixed me up in half hour i thought he was going to kill me
    but i felt great like i was 18 i am 67
    just go there the hawks should hire him

    • http://Allcougdup.com/ All Coug’d Up

      Can he fix your punctuation? LOL JK

  • guck

    Leon Washington is no longer on the roster. His PR/KR duties will be handled by others (Harvin). But Leon was still the third back on the depth chart.

  • Scott Collier

    There is a chance Michel can become an elite back if the injury bug doesn’t bite. I think the Seahawks took a look at the Redskins’ Alfred Morris last year and said “we need to find one of those guys”. Michel has that kind of potential. With running backs, it’s hit or miss. But one thing is pretty certain, after about 7 years in the league you’re done as a back unless you are VERY special. Lynch was hurt the latter part of the season and his absence hurt the team in the playoffs. A guy like Michel will cover that possibility and also allow two fresh backs to pummel the defense. Balanced against the other players available at that spot in the draft I’d say this was a gamble but not a reach.

  • Hawkman54

    Thanks for the viewpoint and info. It actually makes me look at this a touch differently.

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