What Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III showed in breakout game
Rookie Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III has received his first big opportunity to show what he can do last in the NFL, and the results have been impressive.
Stepping in as Seattle starter in the backfield for the first time after Rashaad Penny’s season-ending injury on Oct. 9, Walker has lived up to the billing that he came with as a second-round NFL Draft pick and the 2021 Doak Walker Award winner. The Michigan State product ran for 88 yards on eight carries in Week 5 against New Orleans, the game when Penny suffered his leg injury, and followed up with 97 yards on 21 carries in a Week 6 win over Arizona.
Walker also ran for a touchdown in each of those games.
After his big game on Sunday, a pair of former Seahawks and current football analysts shared their thoughts on Walker on the Seattle Sports airwaves. Here’s what they had to say.
Huard: Walker is like “The Human Joystick”
Monday on Brock and Salk, former NFL QB and now FOX Sports football analyst Brock Huard had an interesting comparison for Walker.
“You know who he reminded me of (Sunday) for the first time, and I never thought of this name (before)? ‘The Human Joystick,'” Huard said.
“The Human Joystick” is Dante Hall, a shifty wide receiver and return man who starred for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2000s.
The 5-foot-9, 211-pound Walker had two big runs against the Cardinals that helped Huard make the connection to Hall’s style of running.
“His sudden cut, his ability to bounce in, and then on your human joystick, like, flip it to the right,” Huard said. “… That’s what he is. Seriously, his two runs (Sunday), his explosive runs, he pops into the hole and so all the defenders do what? They all converge, and then he goes outside, slams it to the right but doesn’t lose speed, and there are not many humans that can do that. And then it’s just hit the accelerator.”
There's something special about @Kenneth_Walker9.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) October 16, 2022
Huard, who called a few of Walker’s college games for FOX as a color commentator in 2021, had his eye on him as a potential fit for the Seahawks before the draft, and now Hawks fans have seen what Huard was seeing.
“Those two runs (Sunday), that’s what I saw (last year),” he said. “Like when I told you in pre-draft, like Russell Wilson and like Tyler Lockett, I love this guy because he’s doing things that others cannot do. Watch the combine with running backs and they’re all like 5-8 to 5-11, 200 to 215 (pounds), run 4.45 to 4.65 (in the 40-yard dash). And at the top of that food chain was Kenneth Walker’s speed and explosiveness and quickness, and I saw it live in person multiple times. Seahawks fans got to see it a couple times, especially (Sunday), flash.”
Hear Huard’s full comments in the Blue 88 segment of the podcast here.
Bumpus: Still room for Seahawks rookie to grow
Michael Bumpus, a former NFL wide receiver who now is an analyst for both the Pac-12 Network and Seahawks radio broadcasts, was impressed by Walker on Sunday while also seeing room for further growth.
“I loved how they got him going early,” he said Monday on Bump and Stacy. “He had a 17-yard run with a direct snap and then he had that 34-yard run for a touchdown. You can see the vision and the shiftiness in this young man.”
“If there’s something that he needs to work on a little bit, it’s understanding the timing of some plays when you have your guard and your tackles pulling, you’re running power, you’re running trap – it’s almost like he’s so excited. He’s like, ‘I’m about to take this to the house,’ and sometimes you need to be a little bit more patient. Let your blocks develop for you, and then once you get through that first wave, you get to that second and third level and you just go.”
Walker’s performance against the Cardinals showed something new to Bumpus, though.
“You see why they picked this young man up. I didn’t realize he was that shifty. He does a little bit of everything. Get him involved in the pass game, as well, there’s no telling what this young man can do.”
Listen to Bumpus’ full comments in the Four-Down Territory segment in the podcast here.