Seahawks Playmaker Likely to Miss Season Opener vs Broncos

Getty The Seattle Seahawks could be without one of their star playmakers for Week 1.

The Seattle Seahawks have some exciting new faces on their offense, including a few rookies from the 2022 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, at least one of those new offensive playmakers is unlikely to play in the Week 1 opener against the Denver Broncos.

The team released its first injury report of the 2022 season following Thursday’s practice ahead of the Monday Night Football showdown. The four players who didn’t participate in practice were long snapper Tyler Ott, cornerback Artie Burns, linebacker Alton Robinson, and rookie running back Kenneth Walker III.

According to NFL insider Jordan Schultz, the rookie running back is highly unlikely to play in Seattle’s revenge game against Russell Wilson as he continues to cover from hernia surgery. That’s a big disappointment for Seahawks fans who were looking forward to seeing him, but it will also give running back Rashaad Penny an opportunity to prove himself as a true workhorse back.

Assuming Walker can’t go, then Penny’s backups will be the veteran Travis Homer and 2020 fourth-round pick DeeJay Dallas.

Kenneth Walker III Has RB1 Potential

There’s a good chance that he doesn’t play on Monday, but once he’s fully healthy, the Seahawks rookie running back will have a real chance at bursting onto the national stage.

Walker was only a 2-star recruit out of Arlington High School in Tennessee, with offers from smaller programs including Kent State, Indiana State, and Eastern Kentucky. Wake Forest was arguably the strongest program to offer Walker, and he ultimately decided to go play for the Demon Deacons.

Even as a true freshman, Walker was a regular contributor in Wake Forest’s offense. In his two seasons with the program, Walker averaged 5.3 yards per carry with 1,158 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns.

After two years at Wake Forest, Walker decided to transfer to Michigan State, where he became one of the most exciting running backs in college football. He ran for 1,636 yards and 13 touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry with the Spartans, winning the Walter Camp Award and Doak Walker Award while being named a unanimous All-American.

With good vision, athleticism, and contact balance, Walker was selected by the Seahawks with the 41st overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Seahawks also drafted a pair of starting-caliber offensive tackles in Charles Cross and Abraham Lucas to improve the offensive line, which is likely a big reason why Walker was given great odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year by oddsmakers.

Missing Week 1 would be unfortunate, but if Walker can get healthy quickly, then the rookie running back could have a great first season in Seattle.

Can Rashaad Penny Have a Breakout Year?

Walker’s potential absence in Week 1 gives Penny an excellent opportunity to make a statement. If he can stay healthy, then this could finally be the Seahawks running back’s breakout year.

As a former first-round pick back in 2018, Penny was beginning to be considered a bust due to his lack of playing time and injury struggles. However, when he was fully healthy and used as the featured back in Seattle last season, Penny averaged a staggering 6.3 yards per carry with 749 yards and six touchdowns.

With Chris Carson now retired due to his neck injury, Penny and Walker have a real opportunity to become one of the best one-two running back tandems in the league. In the meantime while Walker recovers from hernia surgery, Penny could pile up some stats behind a revamped offensive line.

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