Seattle Seahawks Running Back Breakdown: Evaluation and Depth Chart Analysis

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIMay 22, 2013

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 30:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks is introduced against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 30, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Kevin Casey/Getty Images)
Kevin Casey/Getty Images

When it comes to the running back position, the Seattle Seahawks have one of the best groups in the NFL. Granted, running back can be a position that has some extreme ups and downs. If a star running back goes down, it can drastically change the effectiveness of the offense.

The emergence of Russell Wilson as an effective quarterback has certainly given the Seahawks more options on offense, but this is still a running team. You could even argue that Wilson’s running ability gives them another ground option out of the backfield.

Assuming that players stay healthy, Seattle should remain one of the most dangerous running teams in the NFL. The Seahawks averaged 161.2 yards in 2012, which was good for third in the league.

Here is a breakdown of the Seattle running backs and how the depth chart should unfold.


Marshawn Lynch

2012 season: 315 carries, 1,590 yards, 11 TDs (one TD receiving)

Get ready for another season of Beast Mode. Marshawn Lynch remains one of the top backs in the NFL, and the Seahawks are likely to depend on their tough running back yet again in 2013. After all, he still has one of the best runs in NFL history, and it is hard to get tired of seeing it.

Adding Christine Michael may help share the load and change the way that the Seahawks use their running backs. However, look for Lynch to be the starter and featured back for the foreseeable future.

The drafting of Michael does not mean that the Lynch era is coming to an end. If anything, Marshawn Lynch may be in his prime for the next season or two. However, NFL running backs can have short careers, and declines can happen very quickly.

For now, fans in the end zone should keep their Skittles at the ready.

Position: Starter


Robert Turbin

2012 season: 80 carries, 354 yards, zero TDs

Robert Turbin was a solid back in 2012, and he may play a similar role in the 2013 season. What is unclear is what the long-term plan is for the second-year running back.

Is Turbin destined to be a backup, or could he see an expanded role at some point?

Adding Christine Michael will almost certainly cost Turbin some touches, though Michael will still have to prove that he can be an effective NFL running back. Turbin did survive his rookie campaign, so he may be all the more effective in 2013 with a year under his belt.

Position: First Backup


Christine Michael

2012 season (college): 88 carries, 417 yards, 12 TDs

It is fair to suggest that the selection of Michael was a surprising pick in the second round since the fans and experts probably expected the Seahawks to go in a different direction in the NFL draft. However, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have been anything but predictable in the last couple of years.

Michael is a talented player, so the potential is definitely there. However, he did have some issues in college. In addition, how do you use a rookie with notable ability when Marshawn Lynch is your established starter?

It will be interesting to see how Michael performs in training camp and the preseason. This may give a clue as to his role in the regular season. Depth is great in certain positions, but you also want particular players to get into a flow.

Position: Second Backup


Michael Robinson

2012 season: 12 carries, 49 yards, zero TDs (two TDs receiving)

Obviously the stat line for a fullback is never going to be particularly impressive from a numerical standpoint. However, football fans know that the fullback is not necessarily supposed to rack up the numbers.

If anything, the numbers of Marshawn Lynch say something about the effectiveness of the fullback. In that regard, Michael Robinson continues to be an excellent blocker and a guy who can break off the occasional run to keep the defense honest.

It seems reasonable to assume that Robinson will remain the guy who sets the table for Marshawn Lynch in 2013. The job isn't glamorous, but it is vitally important.

Position: Starter


Spencer Ware

2012 season (college): 94 carries, 367 yards, one TD

The Seahawks thought enough of Spencer Ware to select him in the sixth round of the NFL draft. Whether he can make the team is an entirely different issue.

Overall, the LSU running back has the ability to contribute at fullback, but there just may not be a roster spot for him. The same could be said for Derrick Coleman, who is also currently on the roster.

Both Ware and Coleman will probably have to put on some excellent performances if they are going to make the deep team.

Position: Wild Card