Brock Huard’s top 3 power backs for Seahawks in the NFL draft

Feb 29, 2016, 9:12 AM | Updated: Apr 11, 2016, 4:09 pm
After spending a season at Indiana, Jordan Howard could be an interesting running back option for S...
After spending a season at Indiana, Jordan Howard could be an interesting running back option for Seattle. (AP)

The 2017 NFL draft might be the year of the running back.

Fans of old-school power, mixed with blinding athleticism, should expect LSU’s Leonard Fournette, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Florida State’s Dalvin Cook to be selected early in the first round next year, potentially supplying the league with the next wave of runners like Bo Jackson, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.

This year? Not so much.

“Next season will once again be the year of the running back in college football, so just get ready for that,” Brock Huard said on the Blue 42 segment of “Brock and Salk.”

“This class doesn’t have that.”

Related: Could Ole Miss’ Robert Nkemdiche fall to the Seahawks at No. 26?

Despite the loss of Marshawn Lynch, the expected return of Thomas Rawls from an ankle injury means Seattle likely does not need to reach for a new star in the backfield during this year’s draft. But general manager John Schneider told reporters Wednesday the team would be adding competition to a roster that currently only consists of Rawls and Cameron Marshall, who was signed from the Canadian Football League.

Seattle could also bring back unrestricted free agents Christine Michael or Fred Jackson.

Huard said Seattle has proven through previous drafts that they primarily evaluate college running backs by how hard they run and how often they attack the line. He speculated that Seattle will pass on Ezekiel Elliott and Arkansas’ Alex Collins, the two backs likely to come off the board in the first two rounds, but says to keep an eye on three other power backs in the later rounds:

Jonathan Williams, Arkansas

Height/weight: 5-foot-11, 220 pounds

Williams entered 2015 on the Maxwell Award Watch List, but suffered a foot injury in fall camp and missed the entire season.

“Williams was hurt and was ahead of and better than Collins, the guy they really loved in Fayetteville,” Huard said. “He runs incredibly hard … Runs with such frenzy that he’s been nicked up in his career, but a powerful, strong kid.”

Jordan Howard, Indiana

Height/weight: 6-0, 230 pounds

Howard transferred to the Hoosiers after the UAB football team folded in 2014. Huard described him as “kind of an enigma,” but liked what he saw against Michigan’s No. 1 rushing defense.

“All that sledgehammer did was carry it 40 times and run it right through them, and right over them and wear them down to the point that at the 1-yard line at the end of the game, what a shame that you don’t give the ball to Beast Mode from the 1-yard line in their overtime loss,” he said.

Devon Johnson, Marshall

Height/weight 6-0, 238 pounds

Johnson was injured for much of 2014, and Huard hasn’t seen him play in person but likes like his physical frame. And his nickname.

“Rockhead,” Huard said. “Big, physical, powerful guy.”

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Brock Huard’s top 3 power backs for Seahawks in the NFL draft