In a day and age where running back is the most undervalued position in the NFL, Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Caroll still put tremendous value on them. Drafting not one, but two running backs in the 2nd round each in 2022 and 2023. The first of these back-to-back selections was Michigan State product Kenneth Walker III.
At the beginning of the 2022 season, Walker was in a full-on committee with Rashaad Penny. Penny signed with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, though. It wasn't until Penny would fracture his fibula in Week 5 that we would get to see the full potential of Walker.
The instant Walker became the full-time starter, he would shine. Going on to average 4.6 YPC (yards per carry), 1,215 total scrimmage yards, and 9 total touchdowns. Walker was also very explosive on the ground, finishing with 10 runs over 20+ yards (T-2nd in the NFL). He'd go on to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up, placing behind New York's Garrett Wilson.
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Despite Walker's home-run hitting ability, there were still a few weaknesses in his game. The biggest one is the lack of production in the passing game. Walker had lots of ups and downs in pass protection and was often subbed out in favor of Travis Homer for obvious passing situations. He also wasn't much of a receiving threat either, as Walker only posted up 165 receiving yards total in 2022. It was for these reasons, and the departure of Homer in the offseason, that Seattle decided to invest another 2nd round pick into UCLA RB, Zach Charbonnet.
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Charbonnet was a star for UCLA in 2022. Posting 1,680 total scrimmage yards, with 14 touchdowns, at 7 YPC. Charbonnet is a perfect complement to Walker and makes up for Walker's weaknesses in the passing game. He has great technique in pass protection and has the anchor to really thump incoming blitzing linebackers. Although he's no Christian McCaffrey in the receiving game, he's a reliable target with soft hands and smooth route-running. At 6 foot 1 and 220 pounds, he also provides power in the run game which isn't really a component of Walker's game either.
With injuries to Walker last year, it was important that the Seahawks prioritized depth at the position heading into 2023. Knowing this, Seattle went on to draft Georgia 3rd-down back Kenny McIntosh in the 7th round. He was a true threat in the receiving game, putting up 43 catches, 504 yards, and 2 touchdowns at Georgia. There's a lot of upside there with McIntosh as he could make an impact on special teams, and if Walker or Charbonnet went down, he would be a solid 3rd down option. The Seahawks also have veteran running back Deejay Dallas, who will primarily make an impact on special teams.
Not to mention, with recent additions on the interior of the offensive line and the hopeful progression of 2nd-year tackles Abraham Lucas and Charles Cross, they should be good enough to effectively run the outside zone run game Shane Waldron's looking to utilize. Offering the perfect mix of receiving, power, and explosiveness, this Seahawks backfield should be one of the most exciting to watch in the entirety of the NFL.