The Seattle Seahawks are looking forward to seeing which rookies from the 2022 NFL Draft class could break out this season. Unfortunately, one of those top draft picks is in danger of missing the team’s Week 1 opener against the Denver Broncos.
According to ESPN’s Brady Henderson, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll revealed that rookie running back Kenneth Walker III is dealing with a hernia, and that he’s not sure what that means for the playmaker’s availability going forward.
Henderson also added that Carroll is hoping that the team’s medical staff can have Walker ready for the season opener. However, given Carroll’s comments about Walker’s injury, that doesn’t seem to be a guarantee at the moment.
The Seahawks will have to lean harder on Rashaad Penny out of the backfield, especially now that the team is without Chris Carson, who was forced to retire due to his neck injury.
Kenneth Walker’s Absence is a Big Blow to Seattle
Although he has yet to play an official snap in the NFL, Seahawks fans have been justifiably looking forward to seeing what the rookie running back can bring to the table.
Walker was just a 3-star recruit coming out of high school in Arlington, Tennessee. He played the first two years of his college career for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, rushing for 1,158 yards and 17 touchdowns over that span.
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It wasn’t until Walker transferred to Michigan State before the 2021 season that he really broke onto the national scene. In 12 games, Walker rushed for an impressive 1,636 yards and 18 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He was named a unanimous All-American as well as a Doak Walker and Walter Camp Award winner.
Thanks to his great vision and explosiveness, Walker was selected by the Seahawks early in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Despite only being with the team for a few months, he had already earned enough trust from the coaching staff that they were planning on using him in a sizable role to start the year.
Unfortunately, it’s now unclear if Walker will be able to go by Week 1.
How Are the Other Seahawks Rookies Progressing?
Although only one preseason game has been played, there are other rookies on Seattle’s roster who are beginning to stand out.
Two of Seattle’s early draft picks were on the offensive line, taking Charles Cross ninth overall and then the in-state prospect Abraham Lucas in the third round. NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger highlighted both rookies in their preseason debut, saying that they played well against the Steelers.
Second-round pass rusher Boye Mafe had one of the biggest highlight plays from the preseason opener. Lined up over the left tackle, Mafe had an excellent pass rush to get around the offensive lineman and get to Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph for the strip sack.
Other rookies still have plenty of time to stand out, including the team’s two new cornerbacks in Coby Bryand and Tariq Woolen. If the Seahawks can even get a few of these rookies to start producing early on, then the Seahawks could have a formidable squad for the coming years once they figure out the long-term plan for the quarterback position.