The Seattle Seahawks have a very good roster, but what's especially nice and hopeful about their team is that the vast majority of current Seahawks are young and signed through 2017, at least. This series leading up to the regular season opener on September 11 will take a closer look at 30 such players, all of whom won't be turning 30 this year. See every 30-under-30 posted so far here.
Player: Alex Collins
Age: Turns 22 before the season
How acquired: A fifth round pick (171st overall) out of Arkansas in 2016
Free Agent: 2020
I've stated before that as of now I have Collins ahead of Christine Michael in terms of who makes the final 53, and I think the ultimate goal would definitely be to keep the cheaper, younger Collins as a backup to Thomas Rawls while dealing Michael for literally any draft compensation once again. I obviously have no reason to change that opinion as of yet, and still believe that Collins and C.J. Prosise will prove to be considerable steals of the 2016 draft.
Luckily all three of them -- Rawls, Prosise, and Collins -- will play different roles on offense and should be able to complement each other on extremely cheap contracts over the next three seasons, should they remain healthy. It's also because they complement each other and that no one player should ever have to shoulder the full load that they'll have a greater opportunity to stay healthy.
The availability of Prosise in the third and Collins in the fifth is really a testament to how far the value of the running back position has fallen in the NFL (though that could change with the transcendent 2017 class) recently, and it seems to me that Pete Carroll and John Schneider want to take advantage of that while they can. Prosise was the fourth running back off of the board and has an opportunity to have the same impact on offense as a rookie that Tyler Lockett did last season, but only in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with Collins; they drafted Collins to be a no-funny-business, straight line ball carrier in the red zone and score touchdowns, much like he did 32 times over his last 26 games at Arkansas.
Collins has a real opportunity to pickup carries as a starting running back if anything happens to Rawls (who still has something to prove as is) and at this position, we know how often those opportunities present themselves. No he has not yet earned a spot on the roster and we've seen the Seahawks miss plenty of times in the fifth round (Jimmy Staten, Korey Toomer, Mark LeGree, Jesse Williams), but my gut tells me that Collins, Prosise, and Rawls will all have significant moments, plays, and games this season.
And yes, they are all 23 or younger.
Was Collins the most underrated running back in college football: