After the Seahawks' backfield was decimated by injuries late last season, general manager John Schneider and his staff knew they would need to add at least one running back to their team this offseason.
While the Seahawks haven’t signed any backs aside from undrafted free agent Anthony Jones, they were able to solidify their running back corps by selecting DeeJay Dallas with the No. 144 overall pick, reuniting him with his former college teammate Travis Homer.
During his interview with the media, the former Hurricane admitted he’s ready to compete for a job this summer and he’s also ready to play any position for the Seahawks next season.
“As far as fit goes, just honestly trying to get here and compete with the rest of the guys. Whatever is asked upon me, I’ll do whatever. Honestly, I know the Seahawks running backs are physical, downhill runners, they have play making ability,” Dallas explained. “I’ll do whatever. Whether that’s receiver or special teams or running back. I’ll do whatever and I’m excited for this opportunity.”
With running back Rashaad Penny’s status for next season still unclear as he recovers from his torn ACL, Dallas will likely be given a chance to compete against Homer for the backup gig behind lead back Chris Carson.
Luckily for Seattle, the 5-foot-10 running back enjoys being utilized during third down situations and he likes being able to block for his quarterback, which should make Russell Wilson very happy.
“My favorite part of third down situations is protecting the quarterback. You get to kind of get to enforce your will upon the other guy across from you,” Dallas discussed. “Just being physical in third down situations, whether it’s running the ball, or blocking a linebacker or a safety, or catching out of the backfield. Just finishing third down with a physical blow.”
Along with being utilized in the trenches, Dallas also revealed he enjoyed his role on Miami’s special teams units and mentioned he’d be open to the idea of becoming the new returner in the Pacific Northwest for next season.
“If that’s what the team needs, I’ll be returner. But I really like returning the ball. It was fun to me and I feel like it added another aspect to my game,” Dallas said. “If that’s what the coaches want me to do, I’ll do it.”
Over his three seasons at Miami, Dallas returned 20 kickoffs for 420 yards and 11 punts for 191 yards and a touchdown. In addition, the 21-year old running back also produced five total tackles and two solo tackles on special teams, showing the time of versatility that helped Homer earn playing time early in his rookie season with Seattle.
Despite running 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Dallas has proven to be very effective on the ground, as he generated 1,527 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns through three seasons with the Hurricanes. As a receiver, he caught 28 passes for 317 yards and hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions.
Based on his versatility, locating a role for the Miami product likely won't be difficult for Seattle, as long as he stays healthy. His 2019 campaign finished early after he was tackled awkwardly to the ground and dislocated his elbow.
For Dallas, his mindset is to come in and make a positive impact any way he can in 2020. Even if he spends the majority of his rookie season on special teams as Homer did, his main goal is to perform at his best in whatever role he plays and help Seattle return to the Super Bowl next season.
“I’ll play whatever, whether it’s in the slot or receiver somewhere or special teams returning or covering a kick or even playing running back," Dallas said. "I feel like I can help and I want to help. I want to help, like I said, get the Seahawks back to the big dance and that’s really my main goal for this season.”