“Pete Carroll wants to run the ball,” shout overworked and under-creative talking heads on TV.
To date, their remain only two viable options to advance the football while on offense: run, or pass. Pete Carroll wants to pass, too. Yet still, the Seattle Seahawks are known for a few things, and star running backs are firmly on that list.
Curt Warner, not Kurt Warner, the 1983 Rookie of the Year runner-up to Eric Dickerson and Dan Marino, with 1449 rushing yards in his first professional season.
Shaun Alexander, the Madden cover, MVP vote-getter, 27-touchdown phenom, perhaps the greatest Seahawk runner ever by longevity.
Marshawn Lynch, the Beast himself, 1.0, 2.0, the brand, the smile, holding things he should not hold, saying things he should not say.
And Chris Carson.
What to write about about the guy who solidified the team’s biggest deficiency after 11 different rushers carried the ball for Seattle the year before?
Let’s start with this: Chris Carson, taken 249 overall, is the third lowest draft pick ever taken by Seattle in the common draft era. He wasn’t even the first 7th-rounder John Schneider drafted in 2017.
There’s a bizarre parody in April, when the college junkies and the draft specialists collide for a month. Running backs simultaneously “do not matter” and yet “can be found anywhere,” however they put up easily the most impressive and entertaining tape of any college position, bar none. Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor can almost win a game by themselves, yet draft a RB too high, and Mel Kiper will climb through your screen to slap you in the face on behalf of your favorite team’s idiocy.
And Chris Carson has contributed to this.
Most NFL 7th rounders, the world has never heard of. In all John Schneider’s tenure, many fans will know of three. Malcolm Smith, David Moore, and J.R. Sweezy, for the weirdos that know offensive line names.
But Carson turned in two 1,000 yard seasons and a dozen 100+ yard games out of the 249th spot. He’s not only Seattle’s best pick of the 2017 draft, he was the best pick since Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett in 2015. Pending what Rashaad Penny can do with his last chance, he would have been the best pick in 2018 as well.
John Schneider has, like all GMs who retain their jobs, made some excellent picks alongside some awkward blunders. But outside of one to two players per year during the sheer golden lunacy of 2010-12, Carson is the best value Schneider’s ever found, and it’s not remotely close.
The team now has two very different runners in Penny and Kenneth Walker III. Both have a ton of promise. Both are faster. But if you’ve ever been to a high-level track meet, the most interesting event to watch is the decathlon. It’s the only time you get 6’3” 220 vs. 5’8” 165 competing in the same thing at the same time at nearly the same level. Some will crush the discus, and others are just waiting for the hurdles.
What the Seahawks will not have for a couple of years, is the smash attack. On 710 Seattle Sports this week during a tribute to Carson, they played a couple of clips where Steve Raible called Carson down, only to be absolutely flabbergasted as he emerged - not out of the pile like a Rashaad Penny bounce - through the pile with all the defenders still trying their hardest.
Carson was no Tyreek Hill, nor was he a Derrick Henry, but something in between, and somebody who ran absolutely fearless. I was surprised to personally hear his favorite play as this one that will follow, but in retrospect it made perfect sense. He’s fine with the flip, he surely smiled after a 35-yard TD run, but a double team on the goal line was his jam.
Here’s a short highlight reel, too short really.
There are people who have built their entire online personas around the belief that literally any running back can do this https://t.co/SvtrmPR5qQ— TurfShowTimes (@TurfShowTimes) December 1, 2020
Another run that immediately comes to mind when I look back on Chris Carson's career?#Seahawks fans know how great of a player Quandre Diggs is... and #32 turned him into part of the turf on this bullying touchdown run. pic.twitter.com/twadsTtGcw— Corbin K. Smith (@CorbinSmithNFL) July 26, 2022
It’s hard enough to make an NFL roster, harder still to earn a starting spot. In 2018 Carson’s 82.2 yards per game were 4th in the league, in between Todd Gurley and Saquon Barkley. They were drafted 10th and 2nd overall.
You will be missed, Chris.