Seahawks 2010 Draft Preview: RBs

A nine-part series analyzing the draft needs of the Seattle Seahawks continues with the running back position, which the Seahawks could upgrade with Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews (left).

Seahawks 2010 Draft Preview: Running Backs

In the Fold: Julius Jones, Justin Forsett, Louis Rankin, Quinton Ganther, Owen Schmitt (FB), Ryan Powdrell (FB)
Draft need: 4 (scale of 1-5)

Though much of the blame for the Seahawks' inability to run the football the last two seasons can be heaped on an ineffective offensive line, some blame can be placed on a group of unspectacular running backs acquired by the previous general manager. Jones and Forsett are solid runners who rarely go down on first contact, are eager at picking up the blitz, and are above average receivers out of the backfield.

While capable of the occasional big rushing performance, neither prompt opposing defensive coordinators to lose sleep devising a game-plan, and neither possesses game-breaking speed that makes them dangerous in the second-level of the defense. This speed deficiency among the current group of Seattle running backs, a scourge of the entire offense, by the way, in part explains the eagerness in which draft experts had Clemson running back C.J. Spiller going to the Seahawks, perhaps as early as the sixth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

The Spiller pick would fill a major need, but with concerns about his size and inside running ability, choosing him so highly in the draft without first addressing the offensive line first is impractical.

If the Seahawks do choose to address the running back position in the first-round, trading down from the 14th spot and selecting Ryan Mathews (Fresno State) would make a bit more sense. Mathews has good size (6-0, 218), speed (legitimate 4.4 speed), and demonstrated big play ability (led NCAA in runs over 50 yards in '09), though he does come with some concerns about his durability.

Mid-to-late round options include Ben Tate (Auburn), Jonathan Dwyer (Georgia Tech), Joe McKnight (USC), and Mathews' backup at Fresno State, Lonyae Miller, a one-cut back with big-play potential who idolized Terrell Davis as a youngster.

The Seahawks are set at fullback with Owen Schmitt, who should see a significant increase in playing time in 2010.

In addition to writing for, Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac's Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you'd like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here. Top Stories