Why Seahawks draft, especially RB Walker, is Huard’s favorite since 2010

May 2, 2022, 11:38 AM | Updated: 11:50 am
Seahawks Kenneth Walker III...
Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III runs the ball against Western Kentucky on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ 2022 NFL Draft went about as well as any that FOX Sports football analyst and Seattle Sports host Brock Huard can remember since the team hired head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.

Seahawks Draft Breakdown: Close look at all nine picks

“This is my favorite Seahawk draft since Pete and John got together and drafted Russell Okung and Earl Thomas (in 2010),” Huard said Monday during his daily segment on Seattle Sports Station’s Mike Salk Show.

Headlined by offensive tackle Charles Cross with the No. 9 overall pick, the Seahawks drafted nine players from Thursday through Saturday. The haul included another tackle, two pass rushers, two cornerbacks, two wide receivers, and in the second round, Huard’s favorite pick out of all of them. But we’ll get to that in a second.

First, we should establish what Huard means by calling this his favorite Seahawks draft in 12 years. While Seattle had a pretty legendary draft in 2012, taking Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson all in the first three rounds, Huard said he’s more excited now about what the Hawks did over the weekend than he was in the days after that 2012 draft.

“At that time, I loved Russell. (But) I didn’t know (how good that draft would eventually turn out to be),” he said. “I can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh, yeah, I knew Bobby Wagner.’ I didn’t see one of his games at Utah State. … I’m not saying this is going to be a better draft than those early ones because those are historic. Those are arguably some of the greatest in NFL history as far as value goes. I’m just flat-out saying, as far as the people they drafted, knowing them – each and every draft, maybe there was one guy that’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m excited about that. I love Tyler Lockett.’ “Yeah, I think DK Metcalf at the end of the second round, that’s that’s a good pick.’

“But from top to bottom, throughout (the 2022) draft, they didn’t get cute, they didn’t overanalyze. We know a lot of these players. They drafted highly productive players. They drafted big, violent players. I was thrilled Thursday, I was super thrilled Friday more than anybody else, and then Saturday – man, it just made sense. … So just a bunch of quality from Rounds 1-7.”

So why was Huard “super thrilled” on Friday? The reason would be Michigan State’s Kenneth Walker III, the 2021 Doak Walker Award winner as the top running back in the nation. Huard had mentioned Walker as a potential fit for the Seahawks before the draft, and towards the end of the Seattle Sports Seahawks Draft Show on Thursday night, Huard expressed how excited he would be if the Hawks selected Walker with one of their back-to-back picks at 40 and 41 overall in the second round Friday. Seattle did, adding the Michigan State product at 41.

Asked Monday by Salk who was his favorite pick in the draft, Huard practically cut off the question to answer with Walker.

Picking a running back that high in the draft isn’t typically the most popular choice these days, but with the status of Chris Carson’s career unknown coming off a season-ending neck injury in 2021 and returning running back Rashaad Penny having an extensive injury history of his own, Salk said that makes the choice of Walker easier to swallow. And Huard, clearly, has no qualms whatsoever about the choice.

“You don’t just take any running back… (but) the guy that took a two-win program and to a 10-win program on his shoulders, largely by himself – and Mel Tucker, the head coach at Michigan State, will point to him and say ‘Yeah, without him we don’t do this. We don’t make this turnaround.’ That’s a different kind of running back.”

For a team moving on from franchise QB Wilson, Huard said explosive plays in the passing game are going to be hard to come by next season. Walker’s ability out of the backfield, though, should take some pressure off of leading receivers Lockett and Metcalf.

“It’s his explosion. Wait ’til you see this guy. His legs are ginormous,” Huard said of Walker. “… And then it’s his short-area quickness. He can make moves. He’s like a boxer where he can make two or three combinations. He’s not just a one-cut guy; he’s one cut with wiggle. And all of a sudden in the hole, he can shimmy, and he can just explode. And for a passing game that’s going to struggle for explosive plays – DK’s still there, Tyler’s still there, but the QB’s not – the passing game is going to struggle a bit for explosive, touchdown-making plays.

“This guy hits the crease, he’s gone. You are not going to catch him. … Save for (one game against Ohio State), he was the most dominant player in college football offensively this year.”

Huard spent about twice as long as his usual 15-minute segment with Salk to break down the draft on Monday. You can hear it beginning about halfway into the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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Why Seahawks draft, especially RB Walker, is Huard’s favorite since 2010