Bumpus: Where Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker shined, needs to improve

Feb 3, 2023, 2:59 PM
Seahawks Kenneth Walker III...
Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker III runs into Jets LB C.J. Mosley during a Jan. 1, 2023 game. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)

The Seahawks’ 20232 draft class was pretty dang good, in case you hadn’t heard.

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On defense, the Seahawks found two starters in the secondary in nickel corner Coby Bryant (fourth round) and outside cornerback Tariq Woolen (fifth round), the latter of which made the Pro Bowl and was tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with six.

On offense, Seattle found two starting offensive tackles in Charles Cross (first round) and Abraham Lucas (third round). One of the guys picked between those two turned out to be quite the impact player, as well.

That would be running back Kenneth Walker III, a second-round pick who finished the regular season with 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games (11 starts). Walker averaged just over 82 yards in games he started and is a finalist for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Naturally, Walker did some good things in his first NFL season. And as a rookie, he also showed areas where he can improve.

Former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus dove into Walker’s strengths and weaknesses from his rookie campaign during Friday’s Bump and Stacy on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

When it comes to what Walker did well, the name of the game is long, explosive runs.

“Runs of 10-plus yards, he had 27 of those, which was 10th in NFL. (Runs of) 20-plus yards, he had four — that seventh. (Runs of) 30-plus yards, he had three and that’s second. And 40-plus yards, he had three. which is tied for second. And-50 plus yards, he had three, and that’s first in the NFL,” Bumpus said. “This guy’s explosive. We know that.”

As for what Walker can do better at going forward, it has to do with going up against opposing players.

“Where he can get better at – and I thought he was already good at this and these numbers jacked me up – yards after first contact,” Bump said.

Walker was 15th in the NFL in total yards after contact and tied for 18th in the NFL in average yards after contact, per Pro Football Reference.

“So yes, he had a great season, but there’s always things that you can work on,” Bumpus said. “If I’m Walker, it’s absorbing that first contact, getting north-south. We saw him get east-west (at times), and I think that’s where he got in trouble.”

Listen to the full second hour of Friday’s Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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