20 Most Interesting Sehahawks: #9 Thomas Rawls

SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 07: Thomas Rawls (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

After bursting onto the scene in October of 2015, Thomas Rawls was considered one of the brightest young backs in the NFL and the heir apparent to Marshawn Lynch. But injuries have since derailed him, and now he will have to earn every snap he gets.

To say Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls “burst” onto the scene might be underselling how dominate Rawls’ rookie season was. He lead the NFL in both yards per attempt and yards after contact, running for 830 yards in just seven starts. A broken ankle against the Ravens ended his season, but left astronomical expectations entering 2016.

Unfortunately, a leg injury in week 2 knocked him out of the lineup for eight weeks. Upon his return, Rawls was wildly inconsistent, averaging 4.0 YPC or more in just three games. In those three games, Rawls dazzled fans, including rushing for 106 yards on 15 carries and two TDs against the Carolina Panthers.

Rawls also had a brilliant performance in the NFC Wild Card game. He ripped apart the Lions defense, rushing for 161 yards and one TD. Overall, Rawls finished with just 349 yards, averaging just over 3.0 YPC.

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This offseason, the Seahawks signed veteran running back Eddie Lacy, a two-time 1000-yard rusher. Rawls has gone from future #1 back to player who must fight for snaps with Lacy and second-year player CJ Prosise.

The Seahawks have stated that Rawls will be a part of the rotation. Rawls will have to prove that he can be a part of the next core of the Seahawks. He must stay healthy and must produce. Taking pressure off Rawls to be the lead back might help. Splitting time might keep him healthier.

Next: 20 Most Interesting Seahawks:#10--Earl Thomas

Perhaps Rawls’ rookie season was a fluke? Maybe his physical running style is not suited for a player of his size? Maybe he just isn’t that good. One thing is certain: the Seahawks want to run the ball. Can Rawls wrestle away carries from Lacy? We are about to find out.