Why Seahawks rookie RB Ken Walker reminds Michael Robinson of LaDainian Tomlinson

Aug 11, 2022, 1:11 PM

Seahawks Kenneth Walker III...

Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III looks for yards against Michigan in an Oct. 30, 2021 game. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

It’s unclear what the Seahawks will do at quarterback this season, but it is clear that Seattle will lean on a run game that features some pretty talented running backs.

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The Seahawks enter the 2022 season with Rashaad Penny, who was the league’s best back over the final five weeks of the season, atop the depth chart with rookie Ken Walker III, one of two second-round picks Seattle made in April, also ready to get touches.

Former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, an NFL Network analyst who will be calling Seattle’s preseason opener on Saturday, joined The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM Thursday morning and shared his insight into Penny and Walker.

Robinson told Salk he’s a big fan of Penny’s size-speed combination.

“Oh man, I love it. I got to kind of talk to him last week as well,” Robinson said. “Rashaad man, he had a big end of the year last year and I thought it was not only good for the team and good for the offense and good for whoever was playing quarterback …  but it was also good for Rashaad’s confidence.”

Penny, the Seahawks’ first-round pick in 2018, has flashed at times in his career but has been on the sidelines a lot due to injury. But over the final five weeks of the season, Penny rushed for 671 yards and six touchdowns and have at least 135 yards in four of those contests. It was far and away the best stretch of Penny’s NFL career.

“Running backs, they need the confidence, they need the ability to go in there and know that they can have 30 carries and run for 200 yards and all those things,” Robinson said. “And he did a good job … If he can stay healthy — that’s been his big deal, saying healthy … I think he could be the lead dog for this team.”

All that being said, Robinson is a big fan of Walker and what he can do out of the backfield.

“My favorite running back in this past year’s draft was Ken Walker III,” Robinson said. “I mean, I love this kid.”

Robinson was a big fan of Walker’s not just at Michigan State last year, but when the running back was at Wake Forest in an offense Robinson felt didn’t suit his play style. And that didn’t stop Walker from scoring 13 touchdowns in his final season at Wake Forest before transferring to Michigan State.

“The kid has a nose for the goal line,” Robinson said.

In some ways, Walker reminds Robinson of a Hall of Fame running back.

“I don’t like to throw Hall of Fame names out there like that, but on tape, just watching him in college with the second-level speed, he looks LaDainian Tomlinson-ish,” Robinson said. “I’m not saying he’s L.T, OK? But he just looked LaDainian Tomlinson-ish with the slashing … I think Kenneth Walker is gonna have a big year. And you put him with Rashaad Penny, I mean, this offense with this offensive line (that has) some young guys on this offensive line, I think they’re gonna move some people around.”

Listen to the full fourth hour of Thursday’s Mike Salk Show at this link or in the player below.

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