Seahawks draft prospects: Which running back could Seattle select?

Apr 14, 2020, 9:19 AM | Updated: Apr 15, 2020, 10:07 am

Seahawks Zack Moss...

The Seahawks reportedly met with Utah RB Zack Moss at the NFL Scouting Combine. (Getty)


The NFL Draft is less than two weeks away and the Seahawks are on the board at No. 27. They could always trade back; in fact, it would be a break from tradition to stay put. But who might be available to the Seahawks at No. 27 and would that player help Seattle on its way back to a Super Bowl? That’s the question we’re looking to answer in our third phase of our Seahawks offseason project on Tom, Jake and Stacy: draft prospects.

Clayton: Hawks always face tough road in draft as perennial playoff team

It’s not likely the Seahawks spring for a running back in the first round, but it remains a real position of need. Chris Carson is entering the final year of his rookie deal and third-year pro Rashaad Penny is a candidate to start the season on the PUP list as he makes his way back from a torn ACL.

There are a trio of running backs who could be a fit in the early- to mid-rounds: Zack Moss (Utah), A.J. Dillon (Boston College) and Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin). All three reportedly met with Seattle during February’s scouting combine.

710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps explains in this podcast why he chose Moss, Dillon and Taylor. Here’s what you need to know:

Zack Moss (Utah)

Height/weight: 5’9/223
Class: Sr.
Hometown: Hialeah Gardens, FL
College career stats: 712 carries, 4,752 yards from scrimmage, 41 combined rushing/receiving touchdowns
2019 season: 235 carries for 1,416 yards and 15 touchdowns; 28 receptions for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns
Notable: Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year (2019), suffered season-ending meniscus tear in 2018.

How he fits in Seattle

Pac-12 fans are already plenty familiar with Moss. He became the first player in Utah history to finish with 1,000 rushing yards or more in three seasons and broke numerous school records along the way. He finished 2019 as the Pac-12’s Offensive Player of the Year.

Moss’ running style is one that’s typically been coveted by Pete Carroll; he’s a powerful runner who breaks tackles and can make something out of nothing. He’s also patient, noted here by’s Lance Zierlein. (Zierlein adds that Moss “absorbs contact like a cement truck.” You’ve got to love scouting profiles.)

Don’t read too much into Moss’ combine results. The Utes running back ran his 40-yard dash (4.65) on an injured hamstring — tweaked during his vertical jump – and did not participate in the broad jump and three-cone drill. Still, the Seahawks were interested enough to reportedly meet with Moss at the event. Utah was among the many schools forced to cancel Pro Day in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Moss showed an improved 40 time (4.52) during a filmed workout.

The big question

How concerned should teams be about Moss’ injury history? And could his physical running style lead to more durability concerns?

Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin)

Height/weight: 5’10/226
Class: Jr.
Hometown: Salem, NJ
College career stats: 926 carries for 6,174 yards and 50 touchdowns.
2019 season: 320 carries for 2,003 yards and 21 touchdowns; 26 receptions for 252 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Notable: Two-time unanimous First-Team All-American (2018, 2019)

How he fits in Seattle

The Seahawks also met with Taylor during February’s combine. It’s not hard to see why; his 4.39 40-yard dash was the fastest of any running back this year and the fastest of any running back since 2018’s combine, where N.C. State’s Nyheim Hines had him beat at 4.38.

Taylor your ideal running back, with prototypical size, ridiculous speed, and power. He ranked fourth among all FBS rushing yard leaders in 2019 (2,003) and tied for first with 21 touchdowns. He also rushed for 200 or more yards in an FBS record 12 games. Of the three running backs included in this profile, he’ll likely be the first off the board.

The big question

Fumbling issues (15 in three seasons) and wear-and-tear. The first is a knock on any player regardless of the number of carries he’s tallied. The second is an unfortunate consequence of being the focal point of an offense as running back. Taylor has been among the FBS leaders in carries in each of his three seasons. His 299 attempts in 2017 were fourth overall, his 307 attempts in 2018 were the most of any college running back, and his 320 carries in 2019 were second only to Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard.

A.J. Dillon (Boston College)

Height/weight: 6’0/247
Class: Jr.
Hometown: New London, CT
College career stats: 845 carries for 4,382 yards and 38 touchdowns
2019 season: 318 carries for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns
Notable: Set career records at Boston College for rushing yards and touchdowns.

How he fits in Seattle

Dillon finished his college career as the Eagles’ all-time leader in career rushing yards (4,382) and rushing touchdowns (38). Despite being the biggest of these three running backs – he’s got more than 40 pounds on Moss and Taylor – Dillon still boasts plenty of speed and athleticism. He was the group’s top performer in the broad jump (10’11”) and his 40 time was unofficially clocked at 4.53 seconds.

“He is a freak of nature,” Heaps said during his profile. “A.J. Dillon was a huge reason why Boston College was even a topic of discussion.”

The big question

Durability and quickness. Like Taylor did with Wisconsin’s offense, Dillon carried much of the workload for the Eagles. At his size, he may not be able to find the same quickness as his counterparts.

Whether or not it’s one of these three players, the Seahawks ultimately look primed to pick up another halfback.

“I believe more and more that they are absolutely going to take a running back in the draft,” Heaps said. “It’s just a matter of ‘where,’ not ‘if.’”

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

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