J.D. McKissic has returned to practice for the Seattle Seahawks, three months after breaking a bone in his foot in the preseason. The Seahawks now have three weeks to either activate McKissic, meaning they’ll need to make a corresponding transaction, or be forced to put him back on injured reserve for the rest of the year. The good news is that Seattle does not seem to need McKissic right now, so they could wait and see if an injury makes the decision that much more obvious, but what will they do if Chris Carson, Mike Davis, and Rashaad Penny all remain healthy?
The most obvious player people are pointing at is running back C.J. Prosise, but he’s not the only option.
McKissic carried it 46 times for 187 yards and caught 34 passes for 266 yards in 13 games last season. He’s never been used as a regularly-featured back however, putting up a career-high seven rush attempts in a game against his former team, the Atlanta Falcons, last season. McKissic’s role if and when he does return seems to be as both a third-option back and receiver (he had the same number of targets (46) as he did rush attempts), as well as a player to consider using on kick returns. That being said, McKissic one career kickoff return, which came back in 2016.
If Pete Carroll does believe that McKissic could do a better job on returns than Tyler Lockett (23.7 yards per), or at least a comparable job that spells Lockett from those duties, then his addition to the roster does become that much more valuable. Still, both McKissic and Prosise seem to do one thing better than most backs:
Catch the ball. That’s because both are former receivers.
McKissic caught 289 passes at Arkansas State, a conference record in the Sun Belt. Prosise played receiver during his first two seasons at Notre Dame. Taking that into consideration, note that Seattle has had issues over the last three years with staying healthy at running back and it may behoove them to not lose Prosise, a player who seems quite likely to be picked up off waivers should the Seahawks decide to part ways. (My prediction is that the New England Patriots would not let Prosise pass through.) So what else could they do?
Well, the team could release Prosise and keep themselves at four backs plus Tre Madden, or they could view both McKissic and Prosise as options at receiver and turn to the newest member of the active roster: Malik Turner.
An undrafted free agent, Turner is currently the number five option at receiver. He’s received zero targets during his two games and has only two snaps on special teams. He was inactive against the LA Rams. If the team opted to stay with four receivers and six backs, they’d basically be able to call McKissic their number five receiver anyway, plus Prosise, while Turner almost certainly reverts back to the practice squad.
I know some fans are anxious to see Prosise go because he’s been a disappointment, but it seems pretty simple when you look at it: Prosise is more valuable than Turner and if the team believes that McKissic and Prosise serve as viable emergency options at receiver, then there’s maybe no good reason to not keep both. That’s only if there are no injuries at running back between now and next month, which is a whole other consideration.