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Zach Charbonnet

Seahawks add yet another running back with an early pick

With the Seahawks having chosen Zach Charbonnet in the second round, it’s clear they place a higher value than other teams on the running back position. Just last year, recall, they selected Kenneth Walker in the second round, and they used a first-round pick on Rashaad Penny in 2018.

I don’t believe the selection of Charbonnet is an indictment of Walker. Instead, I think they’re just looking to bolster the position. Walker played just fine in his first year (nearly winning the Rookie of the Year Award), but it’s tough for anyone to play all 17 games at that position.

I expect Charbonnet will log a few change-of-pace carries. He might also play some in obvious passing situations (they’ll decide in camp, I imagine, whether Charbonnet or DeeJay Dallas will be their back when the four-minute offense is on the field). And with Charbonnet being more of a thumper than Walker between the tackles, maybe (maybe) they think about using him some in short-yardage situations.

But the driver behind the selection, I believe, is making sure they’re not in a position where they have to play a stretch of games without a tailback they like. Walker has 51 games left on his rookie contract, and it’s wildly unlikely that he’ll be available for all of those weeks. Since 2020, only five backs have started more than 43 games (of a possible 50).

The Charbonnet selection surprised me in that Seattle has had some success finding running backs later. Chris Carson was a seventh-round pick, and Thomas Rawls wasn’t drafted at all. But all along Pete Carroll and John Schneider have zigged while the rest of the league has zagged in relation to the value of running backs. Back in their first season, recall, they traded for Marshawn Lynch. Originally selected in the first round by Buffalo, he was pivotal in Seattle making it to a pair of Super Bowls.

And in the last 10 years, Seattle has selected four running backs in the first two rounds. (They picked Christine Michael in the second round in 2013). Only one other team has used four picks that high on running backs in the last 10 years (the Lions). Only two others (Cincinnati, Jacksonville) have made three such picks. The league’s other 28 teams since 2013 have used only 28 first- and second-round picks on running backs.

RUNNING BACKS CHOSEN IN FIRST TWO ROUNDS (last 10 years)
YearPlayerSchoolPk
2018Saquon Barkley, NYGPenn State2
2016Ezekiel Elliott, Dal.Ohio State4
2017Leonard Fournette, Jac.Louisiana State4
2023Bijan Robinson, Atl.Texas8
2017Christian McCaffrey, Car.Stanford8
2015Todd Gurley, St.L.Georgia10
2023Jahmyr Gibbs, Det.Alabama12
2015Melvin Gordon, S.D.Wisconsin15
2019Josh Jacobs, Oak.Alabama24
2021Najee Harris, Pit.Alabama24
2021Travis Etienne, Jac.Clemson25
2018Rashaad Penny, Sea.San Diego State27
2018Sony Michel, N.E.Georgia31
2020Clyde Edwards-Helaire, K.C.Louisiana State32
2018Nick Chubb, Cle.Georgia35
2021Javonte Williams, Den.North Carolina35
2020D'Andre Swift, Det.Georgia35
2022Breece Hall, NYJIowa State36
2015T.J. Yeldon, Jac.Alabama36
2013Giovani Bernard, Cin.North Carolina37
2018Ronald Jones, T.B.Southern Cal38
2020Jonathan Taylor, Ind.Wisconsin41
2017Dalvin Cook, Min.Florida State41
2022Kenneth Walker, Sea.Michigan State41
2018Kerryon Johnson, Det.Auburn43
2016Derrick Henry, Ten.Alabama45
2017Joe Mixon, Cin.Oklahoma48
2013LeVeon Bell, Pit.Michigan State48
2020Cam Akers, LARFlorida State52
2023Zach Charbonnet, Sea.UCLA52
2019Miles Sanders, Phi.Penn State53
2015Ameer Abdullah, Det.Nebraska54
2014Bishop Sankey, Ten.Washington54
2020J.K. Dobbins, Bal.Ohio State55
2014Jeremy Hill, Cin.Louisiana State55
2014Carlos Hyde, S.F.Ohio State57
2013Montee Ball, Den.Wisconsin58
2018Derrius Guice, Was.Louisiana State59
2013Eddie Lacy, G.B.Alabama61
2020AJ Dillon, G.B.Boston College62
2013Christine Michael, Sea.Texas A&M62
2022James Cook, Buf.Georgia63

—Ian Allan

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