27 Comments

Every article from now until the season starts could be about Kenneth Walker III and I’d be fine with that. He was the first of our drafted players whose name I knew, and it began because I watched Michigan vs Michigan State. Even #9 overall pick Charles Cross I only knew through reading and watching pre draft stuff. But Walker was the one I saw looking like a man among boys in a real football game and I was (and remain) so hyped that we drafted him. And I won’t let the naysayers and running backs don’t matter crowd ruin that.

Here’s to good health for Kenneth. Because I don’t see anything else potentially derailing a special career in the NFL. And after Penny and Procise, hopefully we’re due.

Expand full comment
author

Haha, I will have more in the future for sure!

Expand full comment

Some times it all comes down to who you believe- the talking heads or your lying eyes My eyes tell me this kid is a bigger Barry Sanders and a faster Marshawn Lynch ! He could have 8 great years like Shawn Alexander or break his leg his 1st game. News flash, there are no guarantees in life or football, but you can't make decisions based on worst case scenarios or you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. Walker was ,by far , the best back in this draft and if the offense is based on RPO you need a good R. Why not the best?

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

Can you imagine if Penny's also on his game?

Metcalf and Can't are then open over the middle with yards after catch, and Tyler and Eskridge deep?

It can work

Might not, but...

Expand full comment
author

Could be fun, need the QB!

Expand full comment
(Banned)May 15, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

I've read and considered the draft analytics writings about why a running back shouldn't be drafted high. My sense is Saquon Barkley went a long way toward augmenting their notions. Man, when he first emerged on the scene he looked like the second coming of Jim Brown. Then injuries made him look more bust than phenom. I wouldn't be shocked if he came back strong and proved the naysayers wrong. The Giants picked up his fifth year option. Remains to be seen whether they'll give him a big contract beyond.

If Walker begins his NFL career the way he began his college career (and his post-transfer career), it still won't be enough to prove the Seahawks right in drafting him at 41. Obviously that's a lot lower than Barkely's #2, but it's still a valuable pick. The second question is going to be how much Seattle benefits from his rookie scale contract and first shot at getting him inked on his first post-rookie contract. (Seattle fans know this as well as anyone, particularly after we used a number one on Penny.)

Smart or dumb pick? We won't know the answer for some time, though our natural off-season optimism has most of us feeling fat and happy for now. I love the glow of the off season. Even with holes on our roster large enough to drive a truck through, fans are predicting as many as 12 wins. I'd be shocked if we won more than 7 and not surprised if we went 2-15. Despite a draft that left me mostly happy (including the Walker pick). I think Seattle made smart gambles. But I recognize the uncertainty of the draft and the dearth of talent on our roster other than at WR, safety and punter.

Expand full comment
author

It's selective reasoning. People love to point out Saquon Barkley, or Todd Gurley (after he nearly won two MVP awards), or Penny and say, "See, RBs carry too much risk!"

But there's no context there. There's no context about all the RBs who come along and don't suffer devastating injuries in the prime of their careers, like Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette, Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb, Derrick Henry, Alvin Kamara, etc. No context that a highly drafted RB is in many cases more likely to produce 1-4 excellent seasons for a team, as if a team wouldn't be lucky to get 1-4 excellent seasons from ANY position, as if the only way a prospect is "worth" drafting in the first round (again, we've moved "the line of ridicule" for RBs out of total convenience sake from the first round to now the top two rounds) without pointing out that a myriad of players at QB, WR, EDGE, CB, and so on, rarely produce even one valuable season. No context that 2/3 of QB picks in the first round are total busts. No context for the fact that NFL fans haven't had any discourse about the disappointing injury-riddled careers of so many stars at every other position like OBJ, Andrew Luck, Bradley Chubb, Michael Thomas, Derwin James, and so on for infinity. No context for the fact that it's "perfectly ok" to draft a WR in the top-40 picks even though the only WRs drafted in that range since 2014 to make multiple Pro Bowls are Amari Cooper and Justin Jefferson and many have been massively disappointing in the "Era of the WR". No context at all.

It's this type of selective reasoning, biased arguments, lack of empirical evidence, and narrative-based statements that are used to intentionally fool fans into believing that there are binary answers to the "RBs don't matter" argument and that "clearly all signs point to the idea that if you draft a RB early, he will be just like Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey, and THAT IS A BAD THING." Instead of holding up Saquon Barkley next to Andrew Luck, Saquon Barkley next to Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley next to Dante Fowler Jr. it's just "Look: Saquon Barkley got injured and has missed most of the last two seasons!" and fans might be tricked into thinking, "Ah, well, there you have it."

Well, as you say, Saquon Barkley was one of the best players in the league as a rookie, rushed for over 1,000 yards in year two, and is still only 25-years-old. Maybe he won't come back strong. And maybe Derwin James will get hurt in Week 1 and miss a third season in the last four years.

The world and football is more complicated than all this nonsense and frankly this argument is tired, old, and boring. Time for a new one. Spend some time studying other positions, find a new narrative, try arguing something new and see if you can prove that right. This one is 10 years old and with every season that goes by and players like Derrick Henry and Chubb and Jonathan Taylor get completely ignored because they don't fit the narrative and would in fact eradicate it's value, the less I have patience for it.

I feel bad for any Seahawks fans out there who miss out on enjoying football because they're sweating this mythical idea that by drafting Walker, the team might have missed out on the next Devin Smith, Joejuan Williams, Greg Little, Grant Delpit, Ross Blacklock, Adam Shaheen, Hau'oli Kikaha, Jalen Collins, Noah Spence, Yetur Gross-Matos, Malik McDowell, Dorial Green-Beckham, Josh Jackson, Dante Pettis, Forrest Lamp, Laviska Shenault, Sidney Jones, Jahlani Tavai, Jihad Ward, etc....all players who were drafted in the 35-45 range in the last five years. Oh no, what if the Seahawks drafted a great RB instead of a mediocre cornerback??? Yes, maybe instead it's the next Darius Leonard, Chris Jones, or Xavien Howard, all were in that range...

But you know what's actually probably the safest position to draft at 41 now? RB. Because people freaked out so hard about the 2018 RB class and injuries. So hard that it lessened the risk towards choosing potentially the next Chubb/Taylor/Henry or potentially the next...Hunter Henry.

I'll take my chances with one of the only two elite RB prospects in this draft. If he gets injured, that's unfortunate but it's mostly because he plays football, just like everyone else in the class. If he just isn't as good as advertised, also unfortunate, but that happens way more often to QBs than it does to RBs, and to most positions drafted in the top two rounds.

Fans heard a narrative in the last decade. Nobody has bothered to check the work. They just keep confirming the bias. I recommend looking at it from the other angle, here at Seaside Joe, with a legitimately open mind, and seeing if maybe football is more fun when we don't over-analyze minor details and instead realize "Holy shit, the Seahawks drafted one of the best football players in the entire class."

It couldn't possibly hurt a Seahawks fan to give that a shot. It just blows my mind that analytics gets lumped in with "smart football". Nothing smart to this anymore. I regret being a part of it.

Expand full comment

You come down rather hard on the anti-analytic side. I'm more agnostic. I think there are risks in choosing any player and one has to evaluate the relative risks and rewards of picks at any spot in the draft. I'm hoping Walker proves to be the next Barry Sanders and I'd be thrilled to settle for the next Henry/Taylor/Chubb.

As stated above, I'm not unhappy with the pick. It's a calculated risk at #41. Had it happened at #9, I'd be extremely unhappy, as I imagine you would be too. This was about where Walker was thought likely to go and the other arguably-best back in the draft was already off the board. Seattle relies heavily on its RBs and there's lots of uncertainly as to what we have in the backfield. Will Carson be there? How long can Penny stay healthy? I'm glad to head into the season with Walker as an option.

Expand full comment
author

I like agnosticism, totally agree with you. I went over the top there, I hope people do continue to always seek a better understanding of the game, myself included. I am nothing special, I just feel like analytics has unfortunately got many people trapped in this box and now they simply misunderstand football by looking right past it. (I’m speaking in generalities, not in regards to anything you said.)

Expand full comment
founding
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

People like to call Pete a dinosaur because of the style of play he brings to the Hawks, and how positions are valued vs. the "modern NFL." If you lack the personnel to be the best at playing the game like everyone else, then you need to play it differently. Placing more value on positions perceived as less valuable, like RB and safety for example, and ensuring that premium personnel are acquired to play those roles at their highest level and asking those special players to do things a bit different from what other teams are doing, is a great way to level the playing field.

These last few years the Seahawks have tried to play the game like everyone else because they had one of the best players at one of the premium positions. But they had to pay him like one of the best. Everyone is going to make fun of Pete and John for paying outrageous prices for safeties and investing too much draft capitol on RBs until they start beating all the teams built to win the same way that the Chiefs win. Just like 10 years ago when people made fun of starting a big slow cornerback from the CFL.

Don't play like everyone else. Everyone wants to throw 40 times a game for 300+ yards and look for the next QB superstar. Then let's invest in DBs that can support run defense and fast OLBs that can support pass coverage, and just confuse the hell out of everyone. By the time the league catches on and starts making adjustments we'll go to a couple more Super Bowls!

Go Hawks!!!

Expand full comment
(Banned)May 15, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

Agreed. There are those who treat analytics like it's some kind of black magic. I know from my days in IT (before it was called IT), a notion we used to refer to as GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Back at a time when people thought computers magical.

Analytics people can miss as much as anyone else. It can be a helpful tool, a way of looking at athletes and game strategy through a lens that focuses on statistics. But it's ultimately just a tool; not license to suspend critical thinking in favor of a so-called oracle.

Expand full comment
founding
May 15, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

Great write up, thanks!

Expand full comment
author

Thank you!

Expand full comment
May 15, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

Can hardly wait to see how he does! Probably what is going to make the Hawks interesting this year. Run/Pass option using Walker, Metcalf, Lockett will win us some games/upsets? This year!!

Expand full comment
author

Lots of RPOs

Expand full comment

For the Hawks it could be the second coming of Curt Warner.

Expand full comment
author

Would love that!

Expand full comment
founding
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

When people bang on about Peteball or Neanderball, they seem to be envisioning that Carroll’s plan is just to run it up the gut down after down. Clearly, that is not the case. I for one am excited for an offensive scheme that focuses on getting backs into space and turning on the jets - not just from one, but two RBs able to take it to the house. It will give DCs kittens because they are scheming to stop the pass. Obviously a huge amount depends on Lock/Smith’s ability to open up the defense when they over-commit to the run (sorry, had to do that) which is at best an intangible. But I saw enough from Smith last year to feel that, given the chance to take all the snaps under centre in camp, one of these two will be able to pass muster (no pun intended or made, in fact).

Expand full comment
author

So true!

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

I can’t wait to see Walker run!

Expand full comment
author

Can't wait!

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

I wonder what KenIII would have to accomplish to have a career on par, or better than Russell Wilson's?

Stupid question? Who's the greatest Chi Bear QB of all time? Who's their greatest RB?

Expand full comment

Sid Luckman and Walter Peyton .

Expand full comment
May 16, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

Ohhh...good one. Luck man. Had forgotten him. Bears QB situation has been...well, rough.

But Sweetness is unquestioned. Hopefully Walker makes his mark in Seattle

Expand full comment
author

That would take quite the career!

Expand full comment
May 15, 2022Liked by Seaside Joe

I really like this kid. My question is, at Wake, he didn't feel the offense was right for him so he transferred to MSU where his talents were on full display. How does the Seahawks offense fit with what MSU was doing schematically? Will Walker be comfortable with what we run? It seems like he should thrive here if he takes advantage.

Expand full comment
author

Think we'll see him take off in 2023, giving him a year to work into that system

Expand full comment