Huard: Why Boston College RB A.J. Dillon is a good fit for the Seahawks
It’s draft week and once again, there’s some thought that the Seahawks will use one of the early-round picks on a running back.
Head coach Pete Carroll is known for wanting to run the football and with injury and depth issues at the position, drafting a running back this year makes a lot of sense.
“For me, with Chris Carson’s hip and without seeing him and evaluating him and working with him and being hands-on this offseason and Rashaad Penny’s knee, I think there’s too much risk to not take a running back at some point in this draft,” former NFL quarterback Brock Huard told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Tuesday morning.
Carson suffered a season-ending hip fracture in Week 16 and Penny tore his ACL in Week 14. Other than those two, 2019 sixth-round pick Travis Homer is the only running back on the roster, so adding to the position appears to be a need for the team.
If the Seahawks decide to draft a running back, which one would fit in Seattle’s offense?
Huard has been a vocal advocate for Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor due to his size and speed, as well as his productivity and durability during college. You can read more about Huard’s thoughts on Taylor here.
But in order for the Seahawks to draft Taylor, they would likely need to draft him with one of their three picks in the first two rounds. If Seattle decides to pass on Taylor and address the position later, Huard says a name to watch for is A.J. Dillon, who played at Boston College.
“He’s 250 pounds, he ran a 4.5 (40-yard dash), he (vertical) jumped 41 inches,” he said. “He just can be a man among boys.”
Dillon was extremely productive during his three years at Boston College. He burst onto the scene as a freshman, running for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns in 13 games. He followed that up with 1,108 rushing yards and 11 total touchdowns in 10 games as a sophomore and then 1,685 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns last season as a junior.
With a career 5.2 yards per carry, Dillion was a bruising back who was hard to take down.
“From just a pure physicality standpoint and running through people and running over people, that is one of the traits that (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider always looks for is who is one of the hardest running backs (to tackle),” Huard said. “A unique guy at his size and his explosion would be A.J. Dillon of Boston College and I’d keep a lookout for him.”
Did you know?
Drafting running backs is nothing new for the Seahawks.
Carroll and Schneider’s first draft together in Seattle was in 2010. That year as well as in 2011, the duo did not draft a running back, due in part to having traded for Marshawn Lynch early in 2010. That’s changed since then.
From 2012 to 2019, Seattle has selected a running back in all but two drafts. Not only that, but the Seahawks have drafted running backs all throughout the draft.
“Did you realize that the Seahawks have drafted a running ball back under Pete Carroll and John Schneider in every single round of the NFL Draft?” Huard asked Danny and Gallant. “… (And) they’ve drafted a running back in (six) of the 10 classes and one year, they drafted three running backs.”
Those backs by round are:
First: Rashaad Penny, 2018
Second: Christine Michael, 2013
Third: C.J. Prosise, 2016
Fourth: Robert Turbin, 2012
Fifth: Alex Collins, 2016
Sixth: Travis Homer, 2019
Seventh: Zac Brooks, 2016 and Chris Carson, 2017
If you include fullbacks, the Seahawks have drafted a running back in seven of the 10 classes, as Keiro Small was selected in the seventh round of 2014. Additionally, Spencer Ware, who played running back in college and on other teams in his NFL career but Seattle used predominately as a fullback, was selected in the sixth round in 2016. If you include those two, Seattle has taken 10 backs since 2012.
With that history as well as the injury and depth concerns at the position, it certainly would not be a surprise for the Seahawks to draft a running back sometime this week.
More Seahawks draft coverage
• Hawks Mock Draft: What if top RB D’Andre Swift is still available at 27?
• Will the Seahawks trade down? Draft expert Tony Pauline thinks so
• Moore: Seahawks should draft Jalen Hurts to back up Russell Wilson
• What can the Seahawks do in the draft to maximize Wilson’s talent?
• Seahawks Draft: What do you want them to do and what they do need?