The Seattle Seahawks surprised many on draft night by selecting running back Zach Charbonnet, selecting a running back with a second-round pick for the second consecutive year. As they prepare for the upcoming season, the rookie could play an even bigger role than expected.
Walker was one of the best running backs in the NFL during his rookie season. In 15 games, 11 starts, he averaged 4.6 yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns with 1,215 scrimmage yards. The outstanding rookie season earned him a selection to the PFWA All-Rookie Team and led many to believe he could accomplish even more the following year.
- Zach Charbonnet stats (2022): 1,359 rushing yards, 7.0 yards per carry, 37 receptions
However, after losing Rashaad Penny in free agency to the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle filled the void at running back with Charbonnet. Rated as one of the top ball carriers in the 2023 draft class, Charbonnet earned first-team All-American honors in his final season at UCLA.
After drafting Charbonnet, many expected Seattle to use him primarily on passing downs and as a change-of-pace back to complement Walker. However, the rookie could reportedly be headed for a much larger role this fall.
Gregg Bell of The News Tribune wrote that fans shouldn’t “be surprised at the playing time and opportunities” Charbonnet receives this season. At OTAs, he made an overwhelmingly strong impression on teammates and coaches, proving to be a complete running back.
Walker received just 23 total carries across his first four games. Seattle then pushed him into a featured role, with the rookie averaging 18.6 6 carries per game and 20 touches per contest over his final 11 games. During that span, he accumulated eight touchdowns and 1,055 scrimmage yards.
While he proved to be extremely effective in a featured role, head coach Pete Carroll has liked using a committee backfield with running backs whose skills complement one another. Fantasy managers with Walker likely won’t enjoy the split backfield Seattle deploys next season, but it’s clear the Seahawks’ coaching staff believes in it and it should make their offense more effective.
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