BUMP AND STACY

Seahawks Draft: Tulane’s Tyjae Spears stands out in ‘good’ RB class

Mar 19, 2023, 3:18 PM | Updated: Apr 6, 2023, 2:24 pm

Seahawks Draft Tyjae Spears...

Tyjae Spears of the Tulane Green Wave celebrates a touchdown on Oct. 30, 2021. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

(Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

The Seahawks lost two running backs in the first week of free agency with Rashaad Penny signing with Philadelphia and Travis Homer going to Chicago.

What’s next for the Seahawks at RB after losing Penny and Homer?

Seattle still has 1,000-yard rusher Kenneth Walker III and fourth-year back DeeJay Dallas on the roster for 23 along with Darwin Thompson, who hasn’t gotten an NFL touch since 2020. There are also certainly a number of running backs still available in free agency, but what about this year’s draft class?

Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy – a former Seahawks scout – joined Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy this week and broke it down.

“It is a good class, man. And you can’t have enough (running backs),” Nagy said. “I mean, Seattle is a perfect illustration of that … I remember turning on a game in the middle of the season and it was DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer and they were down like their top three guys, so that’s kind of what you end up with over the course of the season a lot (of the time).”

So who are some names to know?

“Really good group. (Zach) Charbonnet (from UCLA) is a good player,” Nagy said. “The guys we had down here (at the Senior Bowl) like Chase Brown from Illinois, Kenny MacIntosh from Georgia, Chris Rodriguez from Kentucky is very much like Charbonnet.”

But one back from this year’s Senior Bowl stood out above the rest, Nagy said: Tyjae Spears from Tulane.

“He was voted our practice player of the week for all positions, which is voted on by a bunch of NFL execs – and we had a couple of Seahawks on that panel,” Nagy said. “… I think he’s a super dynamic player.”

Spears rushed for nearly 1,600 yards in 2022 with 19 rushing scores. He also caught 22 passes for 256 yards and two scores, and starred in Tulane’s upset win over USC in the Cotton Bowl, rushing for 205 yards and four touchdowns to earn Offensive MVP honors.

The 5-foot-10, 201-pound Spears is “really elusive,” Nagy said.

“You get him in space, you get him in the open field, his open-field run instincts are off the charts. He’s got home run hitter ability that way,” Nagy said. “You get him to the second level and it’s over, man. He can really catch the ball, he’s got a lot of swerve to his game.”

Nagy isn’t sure if the Seahawks will be able to draft Spears because he may be gone “by the time they would spend a pick” on a running back. The Seahawks have two picks each in the first two rounds and five picks total in the first 83 selections.

“But if I was picking one, I think Tyjae has got himself in that next level after Bijan,” Nagy said, referencing Texas All-American back Bijan Robinson, the consensus No. 1 running back in this year’s draft class. “I think everyone thinks Bijan Robinson from Texas will be the No. 1 guy. I think Tajae is probably in that conversation to be the second guy.”

Listen to Nagy’s full interview with Bump and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

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Senior Bowl’s Jim Nagy on C John Michael Schmitz, LB Daiyan Henley
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