The start to the 2021 season for the Seattle Seahawks has been rough. In addition to getting off to a 2-4 start for just the third time in the Pete Carroll era and the second time since drafting Russell Wilson, the team has battled injuries to several key players.
In addition to Wilson missing his first start since joining the team in Week 6, the Hawks have also seen Chris Carson, Brandon Shell, Dee Eskridge, Tre Brown, Benson Mayowa and Bryan Mone miss games due to injury. Then, Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers one time third string running back Alex Collins suffered a hip injury that led to him missing time while DeeJay Dallas filled in, which leads to an interesting situation on for the Week 7 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, and a potential opportunity for 2018 first round running back Rashaad Penny to enter the history books. Or, perhaps more accurately, an opportunity for Penny to erase his name from the trivia books.
In the 52 drafts held since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, there have been 179 running backs selected in the first round, with no shortage of recognizable names on that list, including Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Marcus Allen, LaDainian Tomlinson, Earl Campbell, Marshall Faulk, John Rigginsa and others. The list includes many notable Seahawks in Marshawn Lynch, John Williams, Curt Warner, John L. Williams, Shaun Alexander and C.J. Spiller, along with Seahawks Legends Franco Harris and Edgerrin James.
However, of those 179 first round running backs, there are five who, as of this writing, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum, with zero games started during their NFL career. Those five are:
- Travis Etienne (Jacksonville Jaguars, 1.25 in 2021)
- John Avery (Miami Dolphins, 1.29 in 1998)
- Leo Hayden (Minnesota Vikings, 1.24 in 1971)
- David Overstreet (Miami Dolphins, 1.13 in 1983)
- Rashaad Penny (Seattle Seahawks, 1.27 in 2018)
With starting running back Chris Carson on injured reserve and ineligible to play until the Week 10 matchup against the Green Bay Packers and Alex Collins recovering after getting banged up pretty good against the Steelers, Week 7 represents the best opportunity of Penny’s career to remove his name from that list.
Obviously, Collins’ status and how much work the team wants to give Penny in his first game back from injured reserve will be important factors in determining who gets the nod at starter. That said, who is on the field at running back Monday night for the first snap of the game against the Saints will be worth watching just for the trivia factor.