STACY ROST

Rost: Keys to success for 4th-round RB DeeJay Dallas with the Seahawks

May 27, 2020, 1:13 AM
Seahawks rookie RB DeeJay Dallas...
Seahawks third-round pick DeeJay Dallas showed versatility in college. (Getty)
(Getty)

The Seahawks’ reunion with Marshawn Lynch in the final three weeks of their 2019 season was fun while it lasted, but his brief appearance was part of an emergency relief effort, not a lasting solution to a big problem at running back.

How Hawks’ pass rush struggles were connected to use of base defense

That problem was – is – one of injuries and dwindling long-term options. Starting tailback Chris Carson is entering the final year of his rookie contract and will spend the offseason working back from a fractured hip, backup Rashaad Penny is coming off a torn ACL, and former third-round pick C.J. Prosise remains a free agent.

The Seahawks have reportedly added a veteran to the position with Carlos Hyde, but maybe they also hoped they could chip away at that problem in the fourth round of last month’s NFL Draft, because they used pick No. 144 overall to select DeeJay Dallas out of Miami.

What’s are the keys to Dallas making the roster?

Versatility

Head coach Pete Carroll said versatility will be a key attribute for Dallas in training camp. Given his background as a wide receiver, the best thing Dallas could do is take advantage of that history and contribute at several areas – on special teams, in the pass game, and out of the backfield. In a running back room that now includes Hyde, finding explosiveness on kick returns has become even more important.

“He’s a guy with a really big attitude and personality about it and try-hard and effort and all that,” Carroll said about Dallas following his selection in the draft. “That with the mix, he’s been a wildcat guy there in the backfield, that just adds to the makeup that he brings that makes him unique. That’s just kind of guys that we love to fall for.”

Versatility is nothing new for the 5-foot-10, 217-pound Dallas. He was a four-star recruit who played quarterback, receiver, running back and safety at Georgia’s Glynn Academy and ultimately committed to Miami to play wide receiver under then-head coach Mark Richt.

Dallas made the transition to running back midseason as a true freshman in 2017. In his sophomore season, his first full year as a running back, Dallas finished with 617 rushing yards and six touchdowns. He also had 191 punt return yards and a touchdown, 420 kick return yards, and 85 receiving yards.

Big play ability

Dallas isn’t just a new cog in a running back rotation, according to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps.

“When I look at DeeJay Dallas, I see a guy who is a compact runner who can effectively run between the tackles,” Heaps said in his own profile of Dallas on Tom, Jake and Stacy. “And the thing I love is seeing him play angry. That showed up when I watched the film. He has a finishing mentality. And the other aspect is the versatility, the explosion, and the big play ability. He has the speed to separate from defenders and take it to the house.”

The big question

Can he beat out second-year running back and fellow Miami product Travis Homer? The two are fighting for similar roles and the top of the running back room already seems set with Carson, Penny, and Hyde.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Stacy Rost on Twitter.

More Seahawks draft pick profiles

Fourth round: Colby Parkinson has the tools to be a good receiving TE
Third round: Guard Damien Lewis may be new version of an old favorite
Second round: Darrell Taylor ‘the edge rusher they wanted all along’
First round: How will linebacker Jordyn Brooks fit in on defense?

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