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Why the Seahawks will lead the NFL by drafting a running back, again

With only two running backs under contract, the Seahawks are poised to take another one in the NFL Draft.

Seattle Seahawks v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

In a matter of hours, the Seattle Seahawks went from having the best running back tandem in the NFL (when healthy) alongside an elite special teams back, to precisely two ball carriers under contract.

Rashaad Penny departed for the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by Travis Homer getting picked up by the Chicago Bears.

Now, Seattle has Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Kenneth Walker and DeeJay Dallas on the roster.

Spending money on an older running back seems less likely this offseason, as for an unknown reason John Schneider is hellbent on making only brilliant moves. The money has gone to defensive line, and if conventional wisdom prevails - which is miraculously has thus far - a wide receiver would follow ahead of a runner.

That leaves the Seahawks to do, well, what they do.

According to Timo Riske, Schneider and Pete Carroll have drafted twice the NFL average amount of running backs over the previous five years.

Don’t make any guesses as to the Los Angeles Rams motives in dump-everything mode, but they’ve got four rostered backs at the moment, including Cam Akers. If they don’t draft a back and Seattle does, they’ll take their rightful place as the most prolific RB-drafters over a six-year span.

What’s odd about this chart - and the Pete Carroll stereotype - is that on paper the Seahawks haven’t done anything truly absurd since 2016.* The biggest contributor to the disparity is that much of the league doesn’t draft running backs, while Seattle is content to grab one each year.
*allowing exception for Rashaad Penny at 27 overall.

Pete (or John) have drafted precisely one back in 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017. In ‘16 they took three, but there’s no way national media actually has that on their memory, plus it doesn’t contribute to Riske’s chart above.

One time they drafted three safeties in the same season and all of them flamed out, perhaps we should focus on that more.

Regardless, none of them have worked out on an extended level besides Chris Carson, and it’s very likely that one of the upcoming 10 draft picks will go towards a back, with all the analyst mockery that it will bring.