Huard: UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet has the traits Seahawks like at RB

Apr 11, 2023, 3:32 PM

Seahawks draft Zach Charbonnet...

UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet carries the ball against Arizona State on Oct. 2, 2021. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Whether it comes in this month’s NFL Draft or by other means this offseason, the Seattle Seahawks need to make some additions at running back.

Returning starter Kenneth Walker III had a stellar rookie season in 2022, but behind him the Seahawks currently only have DeeJay Dallas as an established option.

While Michael Bumpus of Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy sees veteran free agent Mark Ingram II as a potential fit for the Seahawks, he also said that he knows the draft is a likely route they will go to add to the backfield.

Bumpus’ Seattle Sports colleague and fellow former NFL player Brock Huard has a name to keep in mind when it comes to running backs in the draft: Zach Charbonnet of UCLA.

“I saw Zach Charbonnet and UCLA play probably six times the last two years,” said Huard, who serves as an analyst on FOX college football broadcasts, “and there’s a reason they call the guy ‘The Terminator.’ He’s ‘The Terminator’ in practice, ‘The Terminator’ in his discipline and work ethic, a ‘Terminator’ on the field.”

Charbonnet, a product of the Los Angeles area who transferred to UCLA after two years at Michigan, was first team All-Pac 12 and a second team All-America pick by The Associated Press as a senior in 2022 after rushing for 1,359 yards and 14 touchdowns on 195 carries (7 yards per carry).

Huard said the 6-foot, 214-pound Charbonnet has the kind of running style the Seahawks are known to prefer.

“We know that (Seahawks coach) Pete Carroll loves big old backs that do not shy away from contact, and Charbonnet is a little like Ken Walker… Charbonnet is one of those running backs where you know his style – like, if you didn’t know the number, you didn’t know the uniform, you just simply watched him as a shadow, you’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s Zach Charbonnet.’ His style is that distinct.”

Adding fuel to that fire is a comp that Huard made for Charbonnet: legendary former Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. They are roughly the same size (Lynch was 5-11 and 215 pounds), and their NFL combine workout numbers are also similar.

“‘Beast Mode’ was a gyro ball,” Huard said of Lynch. “He had a wide stance… You couldn’t tackle him. Charbonnet is a little more Roger Craig. Not quite as high a knee but a similar upright (running style) and just an explosive sucker. They’re distinct, they love ball.”

Huard admits to having a little bias when it comes to Charbonnet for a pretty understandable reason.

“He’s got a special needs sister that he adores, and she adores him,” he said, “and part of the reason he left Michigan was to come back home because she loved nothing more than to watch him play, and he got a chance to show out for her and the family every single weekend in LA. That just kind of solidifies not only the play on the field but the kind of character he has off of it.”

If the Seahawks were to pick Charbonnet, where would he be available?

“I see him in the top three rounds,” Huard said. “So he could be a guy late in the second round, and if he’s there in the third round (he may be worth drafting).”

Listen to the full draft profile in the podcast player below.

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