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The Seahawks will address the running back position in the draft

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Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The 2019 season of the Seattle Seahawks came to a screeching halt on the road against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs when the running game couldn’t get going and the team found itself trailing by multiple scores at the half. Specifically, as injuries befell the offensive line and running backs, the team struggled at times to move the ball, forcing Russell Wilson to once again attempt to play hero in the second half.

Specifically, while the Seahawks had the fifth leading rusher in the NFL in 2019 in Chris Carson, along with 2018 first round pick Rashaad Penny, both finished the year on injured reserve. Penny suffered a devastating knee injury that will take some time to recover from, and the team has already expressed that he may be likely to start the season on the PUP list, while the team has not been as open with updates on Carson’s recovery from a hip injury.

That said, during the team’s pre-draft conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Carroll had the following to say about the recoveries of the pair.

Now, not to read between the lines too much, but that’s not as strong a ringing endorsement as he often gives to players who are recovering from injury. Carroll is more often the type that gives answers along the lines of how the player is on track to be ready for camp, or at least the start of the season. That’s been seen in recent years with players like Will Dissly,

With Carroll being less exact in terms of his expectations for Penny and Carson, it’s more reminiscent of this quote from the eve of the 2016 draft.

The 2016 draft is of note, because even though “Everything’s going great” with Thomas Rawls and Jimmy Graham in their return from serious injuries, the team spent significant draft capital at the positions:

  • 3.90: RB C.J. Prosise
  • 3.94: TE Nick Vannett
  • 5.171: RB Alex Collins
  • 7.247: RB Zac Brooks

Carroll was similarly vague last offseason with Ziggy Ansah, whose surgically repaired shoulder kept him limited enough through camp and the early part of the season that he was largely a non-factor during the year.

In any case, there have been grumblings on social media about Carson potentially suffering a setback in his rehab, which is not unexpected for hip injuries. Specifically, there are certain hip fractures which can be notoriously slow to heal for a variety of reasons, but without the team ever having disclosed the specifics of Carson’s injury, this is something that would simply be blind speculation.

However, when it comes to Penny and his recovery, the team has already set the expectation that Penny would likely start training camp, if not the season, on the physically unable to perform (“PUP”) list. While many fans have been focused on the cryptic tweets of franchise-tagged Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in recent months, Penny’s Twitter timeline could be interpreted as casting a negative outlook on his recovery, if that’s how one wished to view it.

Whether one wishes to interpret that as Penny being down or not, I’ll leave up to you. However, with the Seahawks having ended the season with both Carson and Penny on injured reserve, leading to signing Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin off the street late in the year, it won’t be a surprise to see the team address the running back position in the draft. It won’t even be a surprise if the team uses multiple picks on the position during the draft.

As noted Sunday, the Seahawks are likely to draft a running back on Day 1 or Day 2 of the draft, and it’s possible the team could see a second back added to the roster on Day 3.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that the team will follow the strategy of Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest, who released the following projection for the Hawks on Wednesday.

Long story short, the 2020 NFL Draft is here, and the Seahawks are going to draft a running back or two whether fans like it or not.