National Football League
Seahawks' Carroll sees rookie Kenneth Walker as three-down RB
National Football League

Seahawks' Carroll sees rookie Kenneth Walker as three-down RB

Updated Aug. 14, 2022 7:34 p.m. ET

Rookie running back Kenneth Walker III has caught the attention of Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Carroll told The Seattle Times that he's surprised by how "well-rounded" Walker is as a player.

"You talk about surprises, I'm surprised. I'm surprised he's so well-rounded," Carroll said of Walker. "A runner, he's blocking. Again, I think I mentioned it the other day, but his pass-protection stuff, he just turned the page (from college). I mean, he was not very good in college as a pass protector, and we didn't know. But Chad (Morton) has done a great job with him and Amanda (Ruller), they've worked really hard with him, so it's important. 

"But I think for this kid, everything is important. He wants to be great, and he's not going to let any stone be unturned. So, I'm really excited to see how he goes. He's going to get some good playing time in this game and get him comfortable with the speed of the game and all of that. I expect him to do well."


Carroll later asserted that he would be comfortable with Walker playing "all three downs."

Seattle selected Walker with the No. 41 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Walker played two seasons at Wake Forest before transferring to Michigan State in 2021. He rushed for 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns on 263 attempts (6.2 yards per carry) last season and would finish sixth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

The speedy 5-foot-10, 210-pound back could carve out a sizeable role right away in Seattle's running back stable alongside Rashaad Penny and DeeJay Dallas. The Seahawks boasted one of the league's most potent rushing attacks last year and lost former 1,000-yard rusher Chris Carson to retirement in the offseason. 

They might continue to lean heavily on the ground game given the trade of quarterback Russell Wilson to Denver and the uninspired competition taking place between Geno Smith and Drew Lock.

The Seahawks are coming off a 7-10 campaign, their first losing season since 2011. One of the few bright spots was how well they ran the ball. Seattle averaged 5.0 yards per carry as a team and finished sixth overall in Football Outsiders' Rush DVOA. Penny, who'd been plagued by injuries throughout his four seasons, was the catalyst late in the year. He collected a career-high 749 yards and led the NFL with 6.3 yards per carry.

Seattle begins its preseason slate Saturday at Pittsburgh


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