A report out of Seahawk OTAs yesterday is that Rashaad Penny is dealing with a hamstring injury. Ordinarily not a big deal, with it being May, but it prompts a raised eyebrow given Penny's poor career track record of durability. And has me thinking about rookie Ken Walker.
Seattle drafted Walker, one of the consensus top 2 running backs in the draft, with the 41st overall pick. The Jets had previously selected Breece Hall with the 36th pick. It's an area of the draft that's been a sweet spot for selecting running backs in recent years.
In the last 10 years, there have been 12 running backs selected between picks 33-48; the first half of the second round. Ten of those players have had at least one top-20 fantasy season (PPR); eight have had a top-15 year. Six have done it multiple times. Pretty stellar track record.
Table shows all the top-40 fantasy seasons those 12 players have put up the last 10 years, sorted by FF rank.
|RBS DRAFTED FIRST HALF OF SECOND ROUND, 2012-2021|
|2020||41||2021||Jonathan Taylor, Ind.||332||1811||40||360||20||1|
|2013||48||2014||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||290||1361||83||854||11||1|
|2017||41||2020||Dalvin Cook, Min.||312||1557||44||361||17||2|
|2013||48||2017||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||321||1291||85||655||11||2|
|2016||45||2020||Derrick Henry, Ten.||378||2027||19||114||17||3|
|2013||48||2016||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||261||1268||75||616||9||3|
|2017||48||2021||Joe Mixon, Cin.||292||1205||42||314||16||4|
|2016||45||2019||Derrick Henry, Ten.||303||1540||18||206||18||5|
|2017||41||2019||Dalvin Cook, Min.||250||1135||53||519||13||6|
|2020||41||2020||Jonathan Taylor, Ind.||232||1169||36||299||12||6|
|2018||35||2019||Nick Chubb, Cle.||298||1494||36||278||8||8|
|2017||48||2018||Joe Mixon, Cin.||237||1168||43||296||9||10|
|2018||35||2020||Nick Chubb, Cle.||190||1067||16||150||12||11|
|2013||37||2013||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||170||695||56||514||8||13|
|2017||48||2019||Joe Mixon, Cin.||278||1137||35||287||8||13|
|2018||35||2021||Nick Chubb, Cle.||228||1259||20||174||9||13|
|2020||35||2021||D'Andre Swift, Det.||151||617||62||452||7||15|
|2013||48||2013||LeVeon Bell, Pitt.||244||860||45||399||8||15|
|2017||41||2021||Dalvin Cook, Min.||249||1159||34||224||6||16|
|2020||35||2020||D'Andre Swift, Det.||114||521||46||357||10||16|
|2016||45||2018||Derrick Henry, Ten.||215||1059||15||99||12||16|
|2013||48||2019||LeVeon Bell, NYJ||245||789||66||461||4||16|
|2021||35||2021||Javonte Williams, Den.||203||903||43||316||7||17|
|2018||35||2018||Nick Chubb, Cle.||192||996||20||149||10||17|
|2013||37||2015||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||154||730||49||472||2||18|
|2013||37||2014||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||168||680||43||349||7||18|
|2018||38||2020||Ronald Jones, T.B.||192||978||28||165||8||19|
|2016||45||2021||Derrick Henry, Ten.||219||937||18||154||10||22|
|2015||36||2018||T.J. Yeldon, Jac.||104||414||55||487||5||22|
|2018||38||2019||Ronald Jones, T.B.||172||724||31||309||6||25|
|2015||36||2015||T.J. Yeldon, Jac.||182||740||36||279||3||28|
|2013||37||2017||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||105||458||43||389||4||29|
|2017||41||2018||Dalvin Cook, Min.||133||615||40||305||4||30|
|2013||37||2020||Giovani Bernard, Cin.||124||416||47||355||6||30|
|2017||48||2017||Joe Mixon, Cin.||178||626||30||287||4||33|
|2018||43||2018||Kerryon Johnson, Det.||118||641||32||213||4||33|
|2015||36||2016||T.J. Yeldon, Jac.||130||465||50||312||2||34|
|2016||45||2017||Derrick Henry, Ten.||176||744||11||136||6||37|
Not all of those 10 players have lived up to expectations. Ronald Jones has been a disappointment. So were the two running backs who didn't put up that top 20 season, Kerryon Johnson and T.J. Yeldon.
But I'm not sure you'll get a better track record at any position for a specific area of the draft. Bell, Henry, Taylor, Chubb, Cook, Mixon, Swift, Bernard, Javonte. Impressive.
We've talked a little about Breece Hall here, Walker not as much. Watching his film, he's got nice acceleration and power. I see a lot of plays where he's bouncing runs outside, which is concerning -- maybe too much trying to get the edge rather than taking what's in front of him. He wasn't used in the passing game at all, and Pete Carroll actually joked about his receiving skills or lack thereof recently, so unwise to count on him getting those opportunities.
But he's probably going to play plenty as a rookie, and maybe start some games. Definitely should be one of the top rookie backs selected. And seem to be really good odds of him turning out well.