The Seattle Seahawks committed to Marshawn Lynch as the team’s workhorse running back for at least the next two years by re-signing him to a lucrative, multi-year deal this offseason.
But there’s still a question mark as to who will step in for Lynch if he gets injured. The Seahawks got a first-hand look at how the offense struggles when Lynch can’t go against Cleveland last season, when back spasms sidelined the Cal product just before game time.
The Seahawks lost to the Browns 6-3, and Leon Washington and Justin Forsett failed to duplicate the type of physical pounding Lynch can deliver to a defense.
Forsett did not return to Seattle in free agency, and Washington remains as the team’s third-down back. Seattle signed Kregg Lumpkin and Tyrell Sutton as possible back-ups to Lynch in free agency, but Seattle could look to draft a running back for the first time since selecting Forsett in the seventh round of the 2008 draft this year.
Rob Rang, senior draft analyst with CBSSports.com and NFLDraftScout.com, reviews players Seattle might select in each round of this year’s NFL draft.
First round, 12th pick: Justin Blackmon, 6-1, 207, Oklahoma StateRob’s rationale: Blackmon isn’t expected to be available, but he’s the one receiver in the 2012 draft worthy of this selection.
Second round, 43rd pick: Rueben Randle, 6-3, 210, LSURob’s rationale: Overshadowed by some of the other receivers in this draft, Randle combines excellent size with surprising ability after the catch.
Third round, 75th pick: Juron Criner, 6-3, 224, ArizonaRob’s rationale: Criner doesn’t have great speed, but he might just be the draft’s top possession receiver because of his sticky hands and ability to outmuscle defenders.
Fourth round, 106th pick: Robert Turbin, 5-10, 222, Utah StateRob’s rationale: A powerful back with better speed than most give him credit for. ... Turbin is also among the best pass-blockers of this running back class.
Sixth pick, 181st pick: Dan Herron, 5-10, 213, Ohio StateRob’s rationale: Not flashy, but “Boom” is a strong downhill runner whose burst to and through the hole could make him a fit in Seattle’s zone-blocking attack.
Seventh round, 225th pick: Brad Smelley, 6-2, 238, AlabamaRob’s rationale: While not a human sledgehammer in the Mack Strong mold, Smelley is a physical, high-effort blocking fullback with reliable hands.