The Seahawks committed to the run through the draft early and often
There have been a lot of questions about the Seahawks draft. There’s one solid answer to every one of them: it’s all about the running game.
Pete Carroll made it clear that the Seahawks had to get back to their running game a while ago. And by a while ago, make that 350 days ago. Foolishly, I assumed the moves the Seahawks planned would fix the anemic running game. We all know how that worked out. At least J.D. McKissic got us a touchdown on the ground!
So it shouldn’t be any surprise that going into the 2018, Seattle felt they absolutely had to make changes. Those changes started with the coaching staff. Brian Schottenheimer may not be a glamorous name, but his offenses always ran the ball well. Well, they did until he was hired by Jeff Fisher, but Gale Sayers and Jim Brown couldn’t fix that guy’s offense.
The theme continued with some key free agent signings. While players like D.J. Fluker and Ed Dickson may not make your heart skip a beat, they are definitely geared to improve the run game. Fluker is excellent at run-blocking, and Dickson is know much more for his blocking than his receiving.
So I have to say, it’s a bit surprising that there are so many questions about the Seahawks draft. Pete Carroll and John Schneider continued their off-season revamp/retool/re anything but rebuild of the Seahawks by drafting one of the best running backs in the draft. Obviously they rated Rashaad Penny as the best back available to them, since they drafted him in the first round.
Rashaad Penny was just the start of retooling the run game
The Seahawks aren’t the only team that rated Penny so highly. So did Pro Football Focus. They ranked Penny as the second best back behind Saquon Barkley. He was rated the most elusive back in the NCAA, as he forced 80 missed tackles. Penny picked up 1,295 yards after contact. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry *after* he was hit. Barkley is a far better receiver out of the backfield, and can certainly run a little, but Penny broke more than twice as many tackles. Who sounds like he fits the Seahawks system? I’m happy with Penny.
I can certainly understand wanting Barkley instead, but Seattle didn’t have the wherewithal to move up that far. Penny will be terrific, especially with players like Fluker and Dickson blocking for him. And possibly Will Dissly, the best-blocking tight end in the draft, will throw a key block here and there. Plus there’s tackle Jamarco Jones. A look through social media, and it seems some people managed to completely miss that Seattle drafted the former Ohio State left tackle.
Add in the linemen and fullbacks the Seahawks signed after the draft, and it’s obvious this entire draft was focused on rebuilding – sorry, retooling – the running game. You may think the Seahawks pulled the trigger too soon on some players – Penny in particular – but he suits the style Carroll wants far more than any other back in the draft. Seattle picked up a lot of pieces to make the running game go again in 2018.