Zach Charbonnet

Latest On Seahawks RB Zach Charbonnet

Seattle’s running back depth chart saw a number of changes this offseason with former former first-rounder Rashaad Penny and special teamer Travis Homer each departing in free agency. Their absences will be filled in large part by a pair of rookies.

Despite having 2022 Offensive Rookie of the Year runner up Kenneth Walker in the fold, Seattle elected to use a pair of selections on backs in April. That included taking Zach Charbonnet in the second round, a move which has led to the expectation of immediate playing time. The latter does indeed appear poised to have a defined role as a rookie.

Walker is the undisputed early-down back, but Charbonnet could see considerable usage as a pass-catcher. As the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta notes, the 22-year-old is in line to work on third downs given his skillset. Head coach Pete Carroll suggested that Charbonnet could handle all passing-down work, something which would give the team a young tandem at the RB spot and limit seventh-round rookie Kenny McIntosh and returnee DeeJay Dallas to special teams duty.

Charbonnet’s strengths in the passing game were named by Carroll as part of the reason he was targeted by the Seahawks in the draft. Only top-12 picks Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs heard their names called before Charbonnet amongst running backs, after he was named an All-American in 2022 for his production at UCLA. His two-year stint with the Bruins came after one at Michigan of the same length, but it was much more noticeable on the statsheet.

The 6-1, 220-pounder recorded 2,496 yards (at an average of 6.3 per carry) and 27 touchdowns on the ground at UCLA. He added 61 catches for 581 yards during his time there, which helped cement his status as one of the top backs in the 2023 class. If he can replicate his success through the air in particular at the NFL level, he will no doubt see the field early and often during his time with the Seahawks.

Injury Updates: Mitchell, Vikings, Becton

The past few years in San Francisco have seen a procession of running back injuries. One such player who has been at the center of that issue the past two years is third-year back Elijah Mitchell. Unfortunately, Mitchell isn’t in quite in the clear going into Year 3 for the 49ers. According to Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, Mitchell has suffered an abductor strain that will hold him out for a bit.

Injuries have been a bit of an issue for Mitchell to start his career. While playing as an injury replacement in his rookie year for Raheem Mostert, Mitchell was forced to miss six games due to injury himself. Things went further downhill in his sophomore season as he suffered a sprained MCL in the first game of the season. He was able to return in mid-November, but by the time he was back, Christian McCaffrey had arrived and staked his claim atop the depth chart. Mitchell would only play in five games last year.

Now, for the first time in his career, Mitchell will not be expected to carry the weight at running back. With McCaffrey firmly leading the group, Mitchell should be able to take his time coming back from the strain. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told the media that Mitchell should be back “in a week.” While that’s an encouraging timeline to hear, Mitchell’s injury history warrants a bit of cautious optimism from fans.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the league:

  • We saw Saints linebacker Andrew Dowell land on injured reserve earlier this week. Thanks to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football, we now know that he was placed on the injured list after suffering a torn ACL. After only missing one game in the past two seasons, Dowell is now likely to miss the entire 2023 season.
  • Another player who unfortunately went down with a torn ACL this week is Vikings defensive lineman James Lynch, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Lynch was a tied for the fourth-most snaps on the defensive line for Minnesota last year, a defensive line that is also playing without Dalvin Tomlinson this year. Lynch has missed games in each year of his young career, but 2023 will see him miss the entire season.
  • After only two years in the league, Seahawks edge rusher Darrell Taylor has already established himself as a main contributor on the Seattle defense with 16.0 sacks over his first two seasons. According to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, Taylor showed up to practice on Thursday with his left arm in a sling. Head coach Pete Carroll informed the media that he was dealing with a sprained shoulder. A recovery timeline was not provided.
  • The Seahawks held a scrimmage tonight and saw two rookies sustain injuries in the simulated game. The team’s injury woes in the running backs room continue as rookie seventh-round pick Kenny McIntosh suffered what Carroll is calling a sprained knee, according to Brady Henderson of ESPN. Luckily, they will be getting another rookie rusher back, as Carroll told the media that second-round rookie Zach Charbonnet will return “full-go” following the team’s off day tomorrow. The other rookie to go down with an injury was undrafted cornerback Andrew Whitaker. The diagnosis is unclear, but Whitaker was carted off the field after sustaining an injury in the contest, according to Condotta.
  • Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton missed the entire 2022 season after suffering an avulsion fracture in his right kneecap. The veteran made his return to the field in last night’s Hall of Fame game but left after only playing seven snaps. He reported today that, while he didn’t feel like there was any setback with his surgically repaired knee, he decided to be overly cautious with playing on turf, according to Andy Vasquez of In recent years, many non-contact injuries have been attributed to turf fields around the league. With this in mind, Becton got a good sense of where his knee was at and decided to work the rest out in practice. The team plans to test him more as camp progresses and the season draws nearer.

Seahawks Endure Injuries To Top RBs

Seattle fans may not be able to endure much more on the subject of running back injuries. They have already been put through the ringer as they’ve had to deal with constant absences from presumed franchise backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. If you’re feeling triggered as a Seahawks fan, feel free to click away now, because shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported an injury to rookie second-round pick Zach Charbonnet, Schefter’s colleague, Field Yates, reported similar bad news about returning starter Kenneth Walker.

Head coach Pete Carroll told the media today that Charbonnet suffered a shoulder injury and would be out “indefinitely.” He also relayed that Walker has a groin injury and “could be out a while.” The nondescript timelines for these injuries may feel troubling to fans, but it sounds like they have more to do with the level of caution the Seahawks are operating under than the severity of the ailments.

“It just kind of crept up on him, really,” Carroll said of Charbonnet’s shoulder injury. “He didn’t get hit or anything like that. Just all the sudden, he started to feel something, so we’re just checking him out and being really cautious right now.”

With Walker, Carroll confirmed that they’re taking it “week-to-week” saying, “Because it’s a groin, we’ve got to make sure. He doesn’t feel bad. It’s not a terrible injury or anything like that. We just don’t want to aggravate it now and make it something that lingers through camp.”

Hopefully, Seattle fans can breathe a tiny bit easier having read that. The normal posse of former-Hurricane backup running backs was cut in half when Travis Homer signed with the Bears this offseason, so DeeJay Dallas is now taking most of the reps alongside rookie seventh-round pick Kenny McIntosh. The only other running backs on the roster taking camp snaps are Bryant Koback and Wayne Taulapapa, an undrafted back out of Washington who signed with the team two days ago.

Seahawks Sign Second-Round RB Zach Charbonnet

The Seahawks are one step closer to signing their entire draft class. The team announced today that they’ve inked second-round running back Zach Charbonnet to his four-year rookie pact.

Following two up-and-down years at Michigan, Charbonnet put himself on the NFL map at UCLA. Over the past two years, the six-foot-one, 220-pound running back compiled 3,014 yards from scrimmage and 27 touchdowns. After earning FWAA first-team All-American honors in 2022, Charbonnet declared for the NFL Draft.

Charbonnet ended up being the third running back off the board when the Seahawks selected him with the 52nd-overall pick. With Bijan Robinson going No. 8 and Jahmyr Gibbs being selected at No. 12, Charbonnet was the only RB selected in the span of about 60 picks.

The Seahawks organization seems to be high on the rookie running back, with Pete Carroll indicating that Charbonnet should have a role right away. Kenneth Walker is still expected to be the starter in Seattle, but the rookie should be more than second fiddle. DeeJay Dallas, seventh-round rookie Kenny McIntosh, and Bryant Koback round out the current RB depth chart.

With Charbonnet signing, that leaves first-round cornerback Devon Witherspoon as the team’s only unsigned draft pick. The rest of the team’s draft class includes:

Latest On Seahawks’ RB Room

Seattle is in line to have a strong backfield in 2023 after supplementing starter Kenneth Walker with rookies Zach Charbonnet and Kenny McIntosh. That trio is likely to be joined by DeeJay Dallas, giving the team a number of decisions to make with respect to how each back is used.

All four players, to varying degrees, have shown an ability to produce in the passing game at either the NFL or college levels. That could lead to a notable increase in passing plays out of the backfield this season, ESPN’s Brady Henderson notes. Charbonnet (a second-round selection) and McIntosh (seventh round) in particular helped their draft stock with notable pass-catching seasons in 2022.

Walker stands to serve as the undisputed starter after he finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting. His success made it little surprise when Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer departed in free agency, creating the vacancies filled by Charbonnet and McIntosh. Their roles will likely involve signficant pass-catching duties, especially if the Seahawks elect to use a committee approach.

“Yeah, they’re catchers, for sure,” head coach Pete Carroll said of Seattle’s RB room as a whole. “Kenny is a really natural athlete, you can just see it in everything that he does. Zach does everything well… He’s already shown his understanding and his instincts about blocking in the passing game – not the physical side of it, but his assignments and his footwork and stuff like that. We’ve just got to throw them out there and start handing the ball to them, see what happens and see who produces and all.”

As his last remark confirms, little is known at this point with respect to the pecking order behind Walker on the depth chart. Heavy involvement in the passing game out of the backfield could help Seattle’s rookies see the field right away, though the team’s receiver trio of D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and first-rounder Jaxon Smith-Njigba figures to limit the amount of targets available at the RB position.

As Henderson notes, Carroll has not traditionally favored using Seattle’s backs prominently in the passing game. Given the skillsets available to him now, however, it would come as little surprise if that philosophy shifted in 2023 and the years immediately following this season.

Seahawks Planning To Carry Four RBs?

The Seahawks were able to clear out some space in their running backs room this offseason as they allowed Rashaad Penny and Travis Homer to depart for Philadelphia and Chicago, respectively, in free agency. Tony Jones signed with the Broncos and fellow practice squad running backs Godwin Igwebuike and Wayne Gallman both still sit on the free agent market after their contracts with the team expired, leaving only Kenneth Walker and DeeJay Dallas on the roster leading up to the draft.

Seattle drafted two rookies to join Walker and Dallas and now face yet another season in which they may be rostering four or more running backs. In fact, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times is fairly sure that four backs will be retained on the 53-man roster with the likely question being who takes that fourth spot.

Walker, who finished second in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting with an impressive debut outing, is certain to return as the team’s lead back. After amassing 1,050 rushing yards and nine touchdowns in 11 starts, Walker will be looking to take the next step in his sophomore season.

Dallas returns for the final year of his rookie contract. He’s never gotten to display much as a backup running back, usually splitting touches with Homer and Penny, not to mention Chris Carson, Alex Collins, and Carlos Hyde in previous years, but this may be the year that Dallas gets to breakout out as a true primary backup behind Walker. Even if the two rookies prevent him from establishing a role as RB2, Dallas’s roster spot should be safe. Over his three years in Seattle, Dallas has been a dedicated special teams contributor and a reliable returner of both punts and kickoffs.

The Seahawks used a second-round selection, their fourth pick in the first two rounds, to select Zach Charbonnet out of UCLA. Charbonnet projects as the most likely option to unseat Dallas as the second back behind Walker. After a strong freshman season at Michigan that saw him rush for 726 yards and 11 touchdowns, Charbonnet lost carries as a sophomore to Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum, leading to a transfer to the west coast. Charbonnet responded to losing his job in Ann Arbor by dominating the Pac-12, rushing for 2,496 yards and 27 touchdowns over two seasons with the Bruins. He brings a bit more size to the position than Walker or Dallas yet still provides a surprising agility to go along with great vision and reliable pass-catching.

Kenny McIntosh was the team’s final draft pick of 2023 in the seventh round. As a senior at Georgia last year, McIntosh finally got an opportunity to perform as the lead back after the NFL departures of James Cook and Zamir White. McIntosh delivered with 829 rushing yards for 10 touchdowns, but he truly thrived as a receiving back, catching 43 passes for 505 yards and two more touchdowns in 2022. Walker, Dallas, and Charbonnet all have some pass-catching ability, but McIntosh’s specialty in the area may be enough to secure him a roster spot as a rookie. McIntosh has similar size to Charbonnet and has more experience as a committee back with a receiving role from his time with the Bulldogs.

The only other back on the roster, after the team waived undrafted rookie Chris Smith this week, is Bryant Koback, a previously undrafted running back who spent last season on the Vikings’ practice squad. Koback put up ridiculous numbers at Toledo, rushing for 4,026 yards and 45 touchdowns over his career as a Rocket. That total could’ve been even higher if Koback hadn’t been limited to six games in a COVID-shortened 2020 season. While Koback has a strong college resume, Condotta is under the impression that it will take a lot in order for him to unseat McIntosh as the fourth running back on the roster.

Therein lies the plan for Seattle in 2023. Walker should continue as the team’s lead back with either Dallas or Charbonnet taking over key backup duties. Dallas can also compete for pass-catching duties with the other rookie, McIntosh. And, unless Charbonnet and McIntosh make Dallas completely superfluous with strong special teams contributions of their own, Dallas should continue to be a core special teamer for the Seahawks. All this while Koback gives his best audition to prove he deserves a chance in the regular season.