If asked about the most daunting aspect of facing the Seattle Seahawks, most turn immediately to their punishing defense. Sure, they’ve finished as the #1 scoring defense for four consecutive years, but if you check in with someone who’s had a share of Marshawn Lynch at some point during his reign in Seattle, they’d beg to differ. Those days seem to be over with Lynch riding around on camels and hitting up the Egyptian pyramids. Though he hasn’t officially filed his retirement papers, the Seahawks have placed him on the reserve/retired list. I’d say it’s safe to assume that he’s done repping the blue and green, now that the Hawks decided to select three running backs among their 10 draft picks in this year’s draft. One of those selections, taken in the 3rd round (#90), Notre Dame RB C.J. Prosise, looks to be a factor right from the get-go.
Many draft evaluators across the league had Prosise pegged as a fringe top five RB in this year’s rookie draft class. The Seahawks decided that his skill set was good enough to take the RB plunge despite the notion that they’re set at the position. Though one year removed from appearing to hit big with UDFA Thomas Rawls, the immediate need for a receiving back felt big enough by the holes left by Lynch (an underrated pass catcher) and worn veteran Fred Jackson. Pete Carroll has made it clear that they love what Rawls brings to the table, especially on first and second down, but until Rawls can prove he can maintain a full bill of health, the door will remain cracked enough for Prosise or 5th round pick Alex Collins to peak into. As we’ve seen numerous times in the past, Carroll is undoubtedly one of the coaches most likely to provide an opportunity for young players to carve out an immediate role, or even to overtake a more experienced player. Am I saying that Prosise will beat out Rawls in the preseason or early on in 2016? No. Rawls proved that he can be a major factor in Seattle’s run heavy offense. I am saying though, that Promise will have every opportunity to see the field.
Prosise is set to see instant reps on 3rd down out of the backfield or even lined up out wide. Though Prosise didn’t have major statistical output as a receiver in 2013 and 2014, the background of being able to run a more diverse route tree as a RB seemed to pique Carroll’s interest as discussed in his post-draft presser. Pair that with Prosis’ solid frame (6’0″, 220 lbs), strong combine metrics and there is major potential for Prosise to be a three down back in the NFL, whether that’s 2016 or down the road. He’ll need to polish himself as an inside runner and in pass protection, but he should fit in well alongside Russell Wilson as a complementary piece in the zone-read.
The offensive identity of the Seahawks during the Carroll era has been to lean on the run and beat teams with well-timed explosive passing plays. Over the last four years Seattle has ranked 1st, 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd in rush attempts, averaging 32.3 att/g. Of those, Wilson has averaged a little over six att/g in his four years, leaving about 26 att/g to be distributed among the current options in the SEA backfield. In Rawls’ six starts in 2015, he averaged 21 carries p/g, a ridiculous 336, 16 game pace. That workload could very well have been due to the lack of trusted options further down the depth chart.
Redraft – I see Prosise as a similar product as Matt Jones last year. Likely instant involvement on 3rd down, with the possibility of working into additional playing time. He’ll be more valued in a PPR league for obvious reasons, and will be a solid handcuff to a guy coming off a rather significant injury. There’s a mixed bag of opinions on whether Rawls is “the guy”, considering his small sample size. For the time being Prosise is hovering around the 13th round of early drafts, but could easily creep up in ADP if we receive negative news about Rawls’ readiness for the start of 2016. The questions concerning Rawls make Prosise a great late round addition with upside.
Draft stock: 10th round and on
Dynasty – His prototypical size and overall three down skill set outweighs his inexperience as a RB. With Seattle lightly invested in Rawls (UDFA contract holds nearly $0 in dead money to move on if he turns out to be a flash in the pan), Prosise looks to have a home in Seattle for at least the next four years with an awesome opportunity to push for starter reps. Prosise is currently the RB4 in most rookie drafts behind Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry and Kenneth Dixon.
Draft stock: Rookie draft (1.10-2.02) | Startups: 9th-11th round