BROCK AND SALK

Could Zach Charbonnet push for Seahawks’ starting RB role?

Jul 10, 2024, 8:46 AM

Seattle Seahawks Zach Charbonnet San Francisco 49ers 2023...

Seattle Seahawks running back Zach Charbonnet against the San Francisco 49ers in 2023. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

(Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have a young and talented one-two punch at running back in Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet.

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Walker, a third-year pro who rushed for 1,955 yards over his first two NFL seasons, is expected to remain atop the depth chart this fall. But after showing some promise as a rookie last season, could Charbonnet challenge Walker for the No. 1 spot?

Mike Salk posed that question to former NFL quarterback Brock Huard during Tuesday’s edition of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

“Yes, why not?” Huard said. “Give me any reason why not. They’re both 23 years old. They’re both second-round picks. (There is) a new offensive regime and new coaching staff. And while Ken has been good, there’s not so much equity there and greatness that you say, ‘No, I’m sorry, Zach, you’re going to have to play second fiddle.'”

Walker rushed for 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns during his 2022 rookie campaign, averaging 4.6 yards per carry on 228 attempts. His production dipped slightly last year, but he still ran for 905 yards, eight TDs and 4.1 yards per carry on 219 attempts.

Charbonnet got about half as many carries as Walker last season, but was similarly productive. He rushed for 462 yards and one TD, while averaging 4.3 yards per carry on 108 attempts.

Walker has more explosiveness, having broken three TDs of 60-plus yards over his first two seasons. Charbonnet is a bit more of a bulldozer, averaging 2.96 yards after contact per attempt last year, according to Pro Football Focus. However, Walker wasn’t far behind at 2.91 yards after contact per attempt.

Both running backs are also skilled receiving threats out of the backfield, which figures to be a more-utilized aspect of Seattle’s attack under new offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb. Last season, Walker had 29 catches for 259 yards and one TD. Charbonnet had 33 catches for 209 yards.

“I don’t think anyone’s really had much of a conversation about whether or not (Charbonnet) is going to be the lead back when it’s all said and done,” Salk said. “But I think he probably feels like he’s got an opportunity to do that. And the numbers from last year certainly back up the idea of a competition. It’s not like he was the better running back, but it’s not like there was also such a big difference that you would say no.”

Listen to the full conversation at this link about Zach Charbonnet, who is No. 24 on Brock and Salk’s annual “Most Intriguing Seahawks” rankings. Every weekday morning at 9 a.m. leading up to the Seahawks’ Aug. 10 preseason opener, Brock and Salk will feature one player on the list. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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