RENTON — With their second second-round pick (No. 41 overall) on Friday, the Seahawks drafted Kenneth Walker III, a 5-foot-9, 211-pound running back out of Michigan State.
Here’s what you need to know about Walker:
1. Dude is fast.
Walker ran the 40 in 4.38 seconds, a time that tied for second among all running backs at the NFL combine (two others ran 4.37).
“I feel like a lot of people thought I was kind of slower,” Walker said in a conference call with Seattle reporters Friday evening. “On film, people question my speed. But being able to run that 4.38, it was great and I feel like it helped a lot in this draft.”
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com wrote: “Walker is a compact back with a very powerful, sturdy base. He can find his own yards with twitchy directional change when run-blocking breaks down and possesses plus-rated contact balance to add on to his yardage throughout the game. Walker is a very determined runner who is more reactive than instinctive, which leads to wild shifts in his rush track.”
2. He had a monster season at Michigan State.
Walker rushed for 1,636 yards on 263 carries (6.2 average) with 18 touchdowns as a junior last fall, earning unanimous first-team All-America honors. He was named the Walter Camp national player of the year, won the Doak Walker award as the nation’s best running back and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
Walker began his career at Wake Forest, before transferring to Michigan State in early 2021. He said the Spartans’ pro-style schemes better fit his running style.
3. He’s not afraid of contact.
Walker led the nation in broken tackles last season, according to PFF. Of his 1,636 yards last fall, 1,168 of those yards came after contact, which puts him in elite company.
Since PFF began tracking yards-after-contact numbers, Walker tied Jonathan Taylor and Rashaad Penny (sound familiar?) for the highest yards-after-contact average for a running back with 250 carries in a season (4.5).