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NFL Combine 2015 preview: Running Back

The "what" and "who" to look for from this year's running back class for Seattle.

Matt Jones
Matt Jones
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve reached the portion of the program where I have no clue. These are the running backs and I don’t know what they are. Actually, I’m not sure any of us know what they are. Remember last year when draft media "thought" Bishop Sankey was slow, weak, and not particularly shifty? And then Sank-dog broke off a 4.49 forty and the combine’s best marks in shuttle and 3-cone for his position, as well as 2nd-best mark in bench?!

I’m sort of conceding my ignorance of this group ahead of time. I know Melvin Gordon will put up a massive workout, Ameer Abdullah will look great, but after that…it’s all going to be a surprise.

Let’s start with what we can get a general idea of beforehand: this is mostly a class of big backs. Simply sort the CBS/draftscout big board for the top 25 RB…of those 25, 19 are listed at 210lbs or bigger, only three weigh under 200, and 14 are listed over 6’0" tall. When you take a 5-year snapshot of Seattle Seahawks’ RB’s you find that they really seem to have a preference for backs that are 210+ lbs. In fact, RB might be the most niche position of the Seattle roster.

Between Marchawn Lynch, Robert Turbin, and Christine Michael there is only a 1" discrepancy between all three in height, and only about seven pounds separating them by weight. Average size: 5’10"/219. 2015 draft will be an interesting draft because there will be a multitude of RB that weigh in bigger than that, a good amount smaller than that, but very few actually close to that. Will they go bigger? Will they go smaller? Will they stay on trend?

Let’s start with the guys that are roughly in the Seahawk RB mold (I’ll say 5’9" to 5’11" and 214 to 223 lbs):

Thomas Rawls, Gus Johnson, Mike Davis, Terrence Magee, Josh Robinson, Michael Dyer, Cameron Artis-Payne, Jahwan Edwards.

Immediately, what I like about that group is that none of them currently project to the first two rounds. Mike Davis is at #80, CAP is at #128, Magee is at #143, Robinson at #202, Dyer at #271, and the remaining guys are all in UDFA territory. What I don’t like is that I’d probably only draft Davis and Robinson. I like Artis-Payne, but at his age I’d only consider him beginning in round 5. We definitely should cross off Rawls and Dyer for their off-field issues. The next test, common of the three currently rostered Seahawk RB, is a 4.4 forty time. We’ll need to see Davis/Robinson do that.

For the group that are bigger than Seattle RB by either height or weight, the list includes:

Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, Jay Ajayi, Tevin Coleman, TJ Yeldon, David Cobb, David Johnson, Jeremy Langford, Javorius Allen, Dominique Brown, Matt Jones, Karlos Williams, Malcolm Brown, John Crockett, Kenny Hilliard.

I mean, where do you even start? We probably start with the 40 time, with broad jump and agility hugely important as well. Again, I’m presuming we’re looking for 4.4 speed. I think Gordon is in, Ajayi will be in, Coleman would be in if he were testing (injured), Johnson will actually surprise people by being in, Williams will be in, Crockett will be in. The rest we’re on wait and see mode. If Matt Jones hits 4.49 he becomes really interesting. I’m already interested, but I’m not sure PCJS will be unless he’s 4.49. If PCJS expand their search to, say, 4.55; I think it becomes something to watch. Especially if the back is more 220-230lbs.

So that’s the group that are either over 5’11" or over 223 lbs (or both). The group that could be the most surprising pick for Seattle are the under 5’10"/under 210 lb guys. I’ve got this list as:

Ameer Abdullah, Duke Johnson are the big two, with guys like Marcus Murphy, Dee Hart, Trey Williams as we project all the way back until 7th round-UDFA. I’m guessing if the Seahawks break from their mold, it would only be for Ameer or Duke. The guy has to be special at that size.

Perhaps the big wildcard of the RB group will be Lafayette’s Ross Scheuerman. Listed at 6’0"/205, he will work out with the RB, but my personal opinion is that he may end up at WR with a heavy emphasis on special teams. We’re talking potentially 4.3 speed and good hands.