The Seahawks need some running back depth in 2020. They might even need a starter. A.J. Dillon could fill both those roles.
The Seahawks lost running back Chris Carson in week 16 of 2019. They lost Rashaad Penny before that. By the end of the season, Seattle had had to re-sign Marshawn Lynch and hoped that Travis Homer would suddenly be productive after not having had a chance to do anything prior to being thrust into action late in the year.
But Penny is likely to start 2020 on the PUP list after injuring his ACL late last year. Carson should be OK by week one but who will back him up. And that is if Carson is healthy enough to start the season happy and well and full of vigor. If he doesn’t, Seattle’s running game is sunk.
Or is it? Seattle made a bit of a surprise pick in 2018 when they chose Penny with their first-round draft choice. John Schneider has a way of doing this, for better or worse. The Seahawks could choose a player who has the highest potential ability versus a player of need. Penny has shown flashes but not long-term productivity. This could change is Seattle picks A.J. Dillon early in the 2020 NFL draft.
Dillon is the perfect Pete Carroll running back. He is big and will run a person over. In college, Dillon ran for 4,382 yards and averaged 5.2 yards per carry in three years. A lot of these yards were hard work and not with great offensive line blocking. Dillon made yards on his own through sheer will, which sounds a lot like Carson and Lynch before him. This is what a great Seahawks running back does.
Running backs are undervalued in today’s NFL. There are a lot of reasons for this. One is that running backs have a short shelf-life. Two is that teams throw the ball a lot more and rely on the run less. Three is both points two and three. The Seahawks, however, like their running backs and trust the ones that can be successful in Pete Carroll’s idea of a good football team.
Dillon weighs 250 pounds. He has drawn comparisons in size and athletic ability to Derrick Henry. I don’t care about that. Henry had a great offensive line with the Titans. Seattle’s offensive line is not great. But if Dillon can come in and grind out yards and set up Russell Wilson, this is what the current Seahawks offense wants. That is good enough.