Defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks’ All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch (1,306 yards, 13 TDs last season) has been dealing with an abdominal injury this season, missing three games and struggling when he is on the field––averaging just 3.8 yards/carry with three rushing touchdowns in ’15.
And with Lynch, a five-time Pro Bowler, hitting the frightful age 30 wall this April, the Seahawks front office may need to start thinking about life after Marshawn.
Luckily for head coach Pete Carroll & Co., they may already have his replacement. And it’s in a 22-year old that they didn’t even need to use a draft pick for.
Former University of Michigan and Central Michigan running back Thomas Rawls went undrafted this past Spring, and the bruising running back was signed by Seattle as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 18, 2015. He wasn’t even expected to really make a run for a spot on the depth chart, but with Christine Michael getting traded to Dallas and Robert Turbin going down with an injury, Rawls got his shot at making the 53-man roster as a UDFA.
He has out-played fellow Seattle backup RB Fred Jackson by a long-shot, and it’s clear that he’s quickly stealing carries from an unhealthy Lynch.
Rawls has a similar build (5’10″/217 pounds) and bruising playing style to Lynch, and has a similar ability to break tackles as well. It’s frightening, but the numbers don’t lie. Rawls turned in his first career 200-yard game in a 29-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, giving him three 100-yard games and three total touchdowns on the season.
Despite starting just four of his 10 games this year, he currently ranks 13th in the league in rushing (604 yards) and has a league-high 6.0 yards per carry average. It’s incredible what Rawls has already accomplished with just 101 attempts and 10 games played.
Move over, Lynch. Rawls is gunning for your job.
Photo: Otto Gruele Jr./Getty Images