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Ted’s Talk: Predicting Zach Charbonnet’s rookie season

An overview of Seattle’s (second) second-round pick along with my predictions for his rookie season.

Stanford v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

For the second consecutive draft, the Seahawks bolstered their backfield with a second-round running back by selecting UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet at No. 52 overall. While he’s not as explosive at Kenneth Walker, Charbonnet is a big, productive RB both running the ball and catching passes out of the backfield.

Athletic Profile/Comps

Relative Athletic Score (RAS)


Charbonnet ran a decent 4.53 second 40-yard dash, but long speed isn’t his best trait. His 10-yard split is very good, which means he’ll get up to top speed quickly to help get through the holes. That’s one trait that stands out about Charbonnet – he may not have many 30+ yard runs, but he will rarely lose yards.

He’s also an accomplished receiving back with 75 catches in his college career for 589 yards so the opposing defense won’t be able to sell out against the run when Charbonnet is on the field. Oh, and good luck trying to keep him out of the end zone, as he averaged nearly a touchdown per game with 39 TDs in 40 games played.

The comparisons of Bijan Robinson and Todd Gurley are exciting, but let’s compare the RAS scores for Charbonnet and the last power back Seattle had – Chris Carson.

They’re relatively (pun intended) close in quite a few categories. Neither Charbonnet nor Carson are burners, but they are consistent and always seem to make something out of nothing to get the tough yards. Charbonnet has excellent vision and showcases the ability to read blocks, set up defenders, and break tackles. Seriously, he’s tough to bring down and has a knack for staying on his feet through contact. Think of Charbonnet as the thunder to Walker’s lightning, which should make for a fantastic pairing. Just one more highlight because I can’t resist.

He does have a bit of Chris Carson to him, doesn’t he?

Gut reaction to the pick

Some people apparently hate running backs drafted before the seventh round. I hate to disappoint those of you who subscribe to that line of thinking, but that’s not me at all. I love running backs and could give a rat’s a— where they were drafted or how they were acquired if they can help the Seahawks win games.

Seattle loves to run the ball and only had Walker and DeeJay Dallas on the roster going into the draft. They needed another RB to pair with Walker, so I wasn’t surprised at all when Charbonnet was picked. He’s an excellent complement to Walker since he has a different skill set and will see plenty of snaps this season.

Charbonnet was widely considered the third-best running back in the draft and was once again selected in the range he was expected to go. Don’t forget how snakebitten the Seahawks have been with injuries at the RB position. Remember when Tony Jones Jr had to play significant snaps against the Los Angeles Rams? I’d like to avoid a situation like that this season. While there were later round options that I also liked such as Roschon Johnson, I was more than satisfied with the Charbonnet pick.

Rookie season prediction

Charbonnet will immediately step into a platoon role with Walker and see a healthy dose of carries. I still expect Walker to get the most reps in the RB room this season because of his explosive potential and ability to take it to the house on any given play. Walker will still need a blow every once in a while, and the game situation may also dictate which RB gets to tote the rock. I’d rather have Charbonnet on the field to grind out a win, for example, since I trust that he’s going to break tackles and get the tough yards. His pass protection is still a question mark – like it was with Walker – so Dallas or another RB we’ll get to down the line may still be utilized for two-minute and third down opportunities.

Barring injuries, Walker will be RB1 and should have another 1,000 yard season. I’m not crazy, so I won’t predict two 1,000 yard rushers on the same team even though I’d love to see it. Think of this pairing like what the Seahawks envisioned when they drafted Rashaad Penny to complement Chris Carson except flipped in that the explosive Walker is RB1 and the hammer Charbonnet is RB2. I can also see Charbonnet being a bit of a TD vulture in the red zone. I’m going to guess somewhere in the range of 100 carries for 500 yards, 15 catches for another 100 yards, and 5 total TDs.