Post-Draft Seahawks Positional Overview: Running Backs

A stellar stable of running backs should be even better with a fully healthy Rashaad Penny back in action and the arrival of two intriguing undrafted rookies. Which backs could fill out the depth chart behind returning starter Chris Carson?
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With free agency mostly wrapped up and the draft in the rear-view mirror, the Seahawks have assembled a 90-man roster and transitioned into their offseason program. Though more moves will be made in coming weeks as they continue to shuffle their roster, the vast majority of players currently under contract will be with the team when training camp opens in late July.

As Seattle ramps up preparations for a new season, further bolstered by Chris Carson's surprising return, an intense competition could be brewing in the backfield. Which running backs have the best chance to stick on the final roster?

Projected Starter: Chris Carson

Injuries limited Carson to just 12 regular season games and he only logged 141 carries playing in an offense that became more pass-centric around Russell Wilson, but he remained efficient with his opportunities. The bruising back finished with a career-best 4.8 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns on the ground despite having roughly half of the touches he did in 2019. He also continued to improve as a receiver, setting new career-bests in receiving yards (287) and touchdowns (4). Staying healthy will be key as always, but in Shane Waldron's scheme behind an improved line, he should be poised for a strong bounce back season.

Reserves: Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, Alex Collins, Travis Homer, Josh Johnson, B.J. Emmons

After having his fifth-year option declined as expected, Penny will enter the final year of his rookie contract with much left to prove. Injuries have derailed his career to this point and a lengthy recovery from a torn ACL kept him out of all but three regular season games a year ago. He'll be vying for the No. 2 role behind Carson against Collins, who ran with a vengeance in three games last year after being out of the NFL entirely in 2019. Entering their second and third NFL seasons respectively, Dallas and Homer should also be in the mix and given their receiving talents out of the backfield, they should be the front runners to win the third-down job. Johnson and Emmons signed as undrafted rookies earlier this month and will face an uphill climb considering the depth in front of them.

Wild Cards: Johnson/Emmons

Conventional wisdom would suggest Johnson and Emmons are long shots to make Seattle's 53-man roster and that may be the case. But as Carson proved back in 2017, late-round picks and undrafted rookies can make a splash on the practice field and during preseason games and both of these players have enough talent to at least make other backs on the roster uncomfortable. Emmons at one point was a five-star recruit who originally signed with Alabama, while Johnson rushed for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns during his junior season at Louisiana Monroe. All of the pressure will be on Penny, Collins, Dallas, and Homer and if any of them are outperformed in August, the Seahawks aren't going to save face simply to keep a player they used a draft pick on.

Who Makes 53?

After signing a new multi-year contract, Carson will enter camp as the undisputed starter and despite his injury history, Penny should be the favorite to complement him as the No. 2 change of pace back. Behind those two, however, things could get interesting. Both Homer and Dallas gave Seattle a lift stepping in as injury replacements each of the past two years, but neither back has exhibited starter-caliber talent either. As for Collins, though he played well resurrecting his career a year ago, his minimal special teams experience could hurt his chances of snagging a reserve role. Johnson and Emmons have the goods to surprise and steal a roster spot, but they will have to prove themselves as pass catchers and contribute on special teams to beat out the three veterans in front of them. For now, it seems like a safer bet Seattle will keep Homer and Dallas due to their versatility and special teams prowess.