What Seahawks can expect from Ken Walker III when he returns from injury based on the final game of his college career
Seaside Bonus: Walker III snow caps career with dominant performance vs. Penn State
It was 113 days ago on episode 1155 of Seaside Joe that I decided to do the unthinkable in modern football analysis: Actually watch a running back* prospect’s entire college career and decide for myself if I thought he was a good second round pick or not.
If I had been able to adequately forecast how much time that would actually take, perhaps I would have planned differently or focused instead on making up quarterback trade rumors. But the result is that I’ve created a lot of GIFs, eating up a lot of space on my hard drive, and as of today we will have watched Ken Walker III’s entire college football career together.
So, what did you think?
Previously on Ken Walker III’s college career: Walker’s freshman season, Walker’s career-day vs NC State, Walker’s holy shit moments vs Virginia, how Walker got to Michigan State, will Walker be a third WR, Walker’s 4-TD debut for the Spartans, Walker blows through Miami like a tornado, there was no better college RB in 2021 than Ken Walker, Walker vs Rutgers, root against Walker at your own peril, Walker vs Michigan and Aidan Hutchinson, Walker suffers first loss at MSU, still rushes for 136; Ken Walker will score, catch, snap a lot in the NFL; Walker vs Ohio State
Personally, I found watching Walker’s games to be incredibly repetitive. In a good way.
Walker has consistently had the same strengths, with few noticeable weaknesses, from his breakout in the second game of his career at Wake Forest to the 138-yard finale for Michigan State that you will see in today’s bonus article.
The Seahawks are getting a running back who has a high floor because he proved from day one with the Demon Deacons that recruiters made a huge oversight when they failed to give him at least four stars. Kenneth Walker III is fast, he takes care of the football, he has exceptional patience and vision, he has some of the fastest and most decisive footwork of any running back prospect I can think of, he’s elusive, he can run through a crack in a wall, he never stops moving his body forward until it is demanded by the laws of physics, and his biggest weakness is that despite always performing at a high level as a receiver, he was never in an offense that would let him prove it or work on his pass protection.
Yes, after watching all 32 of his college games this summer and having every opportunity to find fault in his resume, I think Ken Walker III is great.
"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.”
Pete Carroll can’t always be objective, especially not in the media. But Seaside Joe always strives to be as objective as possible. It has never been difficult for Joe to note concerns for other prospects, or even for other Seattle Seahawks running backs.
Prospects can end up as disappointing for all kinds of reasons. I can’t predict Walker’s future. As a prospect though, Ken Walker would have been a top-5 pick if this was 2006.
Agree or disagree with the strategy to do so then or now, Walker III has a better resume than plenty of running backs in NFL Draft history who were top-five picks.
One thing that the Drew Lock story did last week was take the attention off of the fact that the Seahawks would also be playing without Walker III against the Chicago Bears. Walker III will also be absent on Friday against the Dallas Cowboys as he recovers from a hernia procedure. However, Walker III should return to the field soon and when he does I feel like we have a good idea of what he’ll be able to immediately bring to the table.
Walker should be trusted to handle first-and-10 carries when spelling Rashaad Penny; he should be the team’s number one option at running back inside the 10-yard line, he was an incredible nose for the end zone after scoring 32 touchdowns in the last two seasons; he should be a third down receiving threat, stealing snaps away from Travis Homer; he should be adept at breaking tackles, as Javonte Williams was as a rookie in 2021, and gaining yards after contact; he has an exceptional ability to hit the edge and tack on yards outside.
These traits were on display in Michigan State’s season finale against the Penn State and I’ll go over the Walker highlights from that game as he went over 1,600 rushing yards on the season, scored his 18th touchdown on the year, and then opted to sit out the bowl game to train for the NFL Draft.
I’ll list everything you can expect Walker III to do with the Seahawks for Seaside Bonus content; hit subscribe to upgrade to Regular Joes to read the rest or just to help support the site.