Many people have spent many hours this offseason talking about a running back who's not even on the Seattle Seahawks anymore -- and won't ever be again -- but when is it going to be time to focus on some of the guys who will be carrying the football in Pete Carroll's offense this season? It's not just Thomas Rawls -- my pick as the greatest football player of all-time -- anymore.
While we talked about Alex Collins a lot on 3000 NFL Mock Draft, and he is a fan favorite of this particular fan, the Seahawks used a pretty substantial draft pick on C.J. Prosise out of Notre Dame: 90th overall. That's pretty high for a running back these days. He was the fourth running back off of the board after Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, and Kenyan Drake. Consider that the fourth cornerback taken in the draft was William Jackson III, the 24th pick overall. The fourth tackle was Taylor Decker, 16th overall.
Last season, the fourth running back was Ameer Abdullah, who went 54th overall. The Arizona Cardinals got David Johnson at 86th overall and he had over 1,000 total yards with 12 touchdowns as a rookie.
The fourth running back in 2014 was Charles Sims and he had 1,090 total yards for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. That same year, the Atlanta Falcons took Devonta Freeman 103rd overall and he scored an NFL-high 11 rushing touchdowns in 2015.
The fourth running back off of the board in 2013 was Eddie Lacy. Sure, one pick later was Christine Michael, but at 96, the Kansas City Chiefs took Knile Davis, a pretty good kick returner who scored seven touchdowns two seasons ago.
One thing you'll notice about a lot of those guys is versatility. It's a key word on any Carroll-run organization and Prosise fits that bill as well as any running back in the draft this year as well as any in Seattle. Prosise was recruited as a wide receiver and as a sophomore, he caught 29 passes for 516 yards with an impressive 17.8 yards per catch. Per Carroll himself:
"He's a guy that I fell in love with because when I went back and watched him on film at receiver, and [he would] run all of the routes," Pete Carroll said of Prosise after the team's rookie minicamp. "He was a regular receiver. He got 50 targets or something like that two years ago. He's a natural football player at that position that became a running back. Well, that's really unusual that it happens like that, and that he would be so dynamic at the running back spot."
The expectation for Prosise then will be that he can run routes and catch passes out of the backfield. He caught 29 passes at Notre Dame as a running back last season, averaging 11.8 yards per. It's not a skill unusual to many of the running backs I listed either: Johnson caught 36 passes last year with four touchdowns. Javorius Allen, the 125th pick last year, caught 45 passes for the Baltimore Ravens. Sims caught 51 passes last year. Freeman caught 73 passes last year.
I can't tell you that Prosise will be as good as Freeman, and really can't say that he'll be as good as a guy like Le'Veon Bell, who is also an exceptional player in the receiving game, but that seems like a role he could play for the Seahawks and do so for a very long time alongside my 2016-2025 NFL MVP choice Rawls and my fan favorite Collins.
To get hyped, here are a few videos to watch.
Prosise hits a hole for 91 yards:
Some good old-fashioned highlights:
Prosise's 40 was tied as the eight-fastest among running backs this year. But the only RB listed at 220 or heavier that was faster was Elliott, the fourth overall pick in the draft. Elliott is 225 and he ran .01 seconds faster. Last year, Karlos Williams also ran a 4.48, but at 230 pounds. David Johnson ran a 4.5 at 224 pounds, extremely close to Prosise's results. Todd Gurley ran a 4.52 at 222 pounds. Sims ran a 4.48 at 214 pounds. The numbers are too similar to ignore.
Finally, let's take it back to some High School Highlights:
This is the Seahawks future at running back now, or at least one of the three dragons set to take over for Carroll's realm. I think you can expect this dragon to be the one who winds up with 40 or more catches next season.