When it came time to revamping the depth in the Seattle Seahawks offensive backfield, finding a wide array of options was the priority.
The Seahawks weren’t looking for an updated version of Marshawn Lynch when they selected three running backs among their 10 picks in the NFL draft. They were seeking a variety of individual skills that pooled together will create a number of options for Seattle’s offense going forward.
“I think it’s a unique group because we’re all different,” third-round pick C.J. Prosise said. “We’re all unique in our own way. We all bring something different to the table, so I think it’s a good fit for everybody.”
The trio of drafted rookies – Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks – received plenty of attention during the Seahawks rookie minicamp that wrapped on Sunday largely because of their different styles. Prosise and Brooks both have backgrounds as wide receivers, while Collins fits the mold of a traditional running back.
Combined with Thomas Rawls – the presumptive starter headed into the season – and backup Christine Michael, the Seahawks are flush with a number of young running backs to maintain their priority of being an offense that runs the ball.
“All three of those guys picked everything up and did a nice job,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m really excited about that spot and complementing what Thomas can do and Christine. It’s going to be a great camp of competition for us.”
Of the three draft picks, Prosise may be the one with the most potential. He started his career at Notre Dame as a wide receiver before transitioning to running back last season and performing just as well, running for 1,029 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He’s already being touted as Seattle’s third down running back largely because of his pass catching background, although Carroll insists Prosise can be an option on first and second downs.
Prosise also fits schematically with Seattle’s offense and its use of empty sets with no running back behind quarterback Russell Wilson. Carroll said they can already envision situations where Prosise is a mismatch for defenders lining up as a wide receiver.
“He has a tremendous range of abilities. So going into this draft I was hoping that we would get this guy so we could do the things that we can do with him,” Carroll said.
Brooks is the most similar to Prosise but has more experience as a running back. Brooks was a backup at Clemson, stuck behind Wayne Gallman, and only had 41 carries last season. Brooks, who was the last of Seattle’s draft picks, said he was a bit surprised to get the call from the Seahawks knowing who else they had picked.
“It really didn’t faze me, really, because I enjoy competing,” Brooks said. “I come from a situation where you’ve got six running backs, all of them able to play on Saturdays at Clemson. So this is what I’m used to. This is what I do. I actually was looking forward to coming here and competing with those guys.”
Seahawks key dates
Offseason workouts: May 23-24, May 26, May 31, June 1, June 3, June 6-7, June 9
Mandatory minicamp: June 14-16
Training camp: TBD (opens in mid July)
Preseason opener: Aug. 13 at Kansas City
Regular season opener: Sept. 11 vs. Miami