The Seahawks wanted Prosise, a Notre Dame running back, to be their third-down and pass-catching running back, a role held in previous seasons by Fred Jackson and Robert Turbin.
The Seahawks have a precise vision for third-round running back C.J. Prosise, and it is a role they had no clear answer for on the roster until they drafted him.
The Seahawks wanted Prosise, a Notre Dame running back, to be their third-down and pass-catching running back, a job held in previous seasons by Fred Jackson and Robert Turbin. But the current roster didn’t have a player with the necessary background or skill set.
Which is exactly why they drafted Prosise.
“I think this is a very, very unique player, and I love talking about him,” coach Pete Carroll said. “We were hoping we could get him because we have a very special role that we can put him in and then we can go from there. He’s going to do things that he’s really good at and then we’re going to expand his role as he can handle it. There’s no reason he can’t be a first-down back, too. We just know what we’re going to attempt to do with him on third down.”
Seahawks in 2016 draft
Round 1, Pick 31
OL Germain Ifedi, Texas A&M | Bio
Round 2, Pick 49
DT Jarran Reed, Alabama | Bio
Round 3, Pick 90
RB C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame | Bio
Round 3, Pick 94
TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State | Bio
Round 3, Pick 97
OL Rees Odhiambo, Boise State | Bio
Round 5, Pick 147
DT Quinton Jefferson, Maryland | Bio
Round 5, Pick 171
RB Alex Collins, Arkansas | Bio
Round 6, Pick 215
C Joey Hunt, TCU | Bio
Round 7, Pick 243
WR Kenny Lawler, Cal | Bio
Round 7, Pick 247
RB Zac Brooks, Clemson | Bio
What makes Prosise such a good option as a pass-catching back is the fact that for most of his career at Notre Dame, he was a receiver. Prosise didn’t switch to running back until before last season and then became the starter after an injury to the starter and the backup transferred.
So Prosise is already a pretty adept route runner and pass catcher. The Seahawks often lined up Jackson or Marshawn Lynch out wide as receivers and asked them to run routes. Carroll said Prosise is able to run all the receiver routes.
“He’s very capable of doing that,” Carroll said. “Unlike a running back that has to go out and catch balls, this is a kid who has played wide receiver. I’m really thinking that’s going to be a big part of what he adds to the offense.”
In his one season at running back at Notre Dame, Prosise showed an ability to cut back, something the Seahawks demand of their running backs. He is 220 pounds, and general manager John Schneider said Prosise would need to become a more physical runner.
The Seahawks liked that Prosise hasn’t taken a ton of hits as a running back, although he did miss time late last season with various injuries. Carroll said Prosise hasn’t been “worn out” from all the contact running backs typically endure.
Vannett fills another role
As Schneider put it, the Seahawks have been searching for a true in-line tight end for a few years now. They’ve wanted a player who can line up along the line of scrimmage and become an extension of the offensive line, a true blocker capable of helping them run the ball.
That’s what they saw in Ohio State tight end Nick Vannett. Carroll called him the “best blocking tight end in the draft, without question.”
Vannett has the physical tools for the job; he is 6-6, 256 pounds. And he spent most of last year blocking for Ohio State; he caught just 19 passes.
That should complement the options the Seahawks already have at tight end: Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson both provide downfield receiving weapons.
“We really need him to be an impact player for us on the line of scrimmage,” Carroll said.