Ezekiel Elliott is projected to be the only running back drafted in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by most draft experts but Marshawn Lynch’s retirement in Seattle may have cracked the door for Derrick Henry. The Seahawks suddenly find themselves looking for a running back and the NFL Draft may be their way to find one.
Lynch was a workhorse in Seattle over the past five years. From 2011 to 2014 “Beastmode” rushed for at least 1,200 yards. Last season Lynch’s season was cut short due to injury and he only ran for 417 yards in 7 games. Rookie Thomas Rawls emerged as a viable NFL starter before going down to injury as well. In 13 games Rawls ran for 830 yards with 4 touchdowns. Veteran back Fred Jackson likely won’t be back and the Seahawks will look to pick up a player in April who can eventually become the starter in Seattle for years to come.
Derrick Henry was thought to be an early second round draft pick but with the glaring hole in Seattle’s running back depth chart we could see the Heisman Trophy winner go late in the first round. Seahawks’ GM John Schneider was thought to be leaning towards an offensive lineman but if he can get a potential starting running back at pick #26 he may have to pull the trigger. If Seattle doesn’t draft Henry in the first round he won’t be there at #57 when they pick in the second round. Schneider could trade up and try to get Elliott but I don’t see them trading into the top 15 and giving up a boat load of picks for him.
There are some pretty good running backs in this draft class but clearly Elliott and Henry are the top two on the board. Should the Seahawks decide to hold off and get a back in the later rounds there will be some guys like Alex Collins from Arkansas and Kenneth Dixon from Louisiana Tech who could be diamonds in the rough. TCU’s Aaron Green stock has been on the rise after a great week at the Senior Bowl and should be there on the third day of the draft.
But if Seattle is going to replace Lynch in the draft Henry is the best option and they will have to reach to get him but in the end he could be worth it. He’s a downhill runner similar to Lynch and could pick up where he left off and carve his own niche in the Emerald City.