Alex Collins rushed for 77 yards and two touchdowns in three games last season. (Getty)
The hope with Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny, who Seattle took in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft but has struggled to stay on the field as a pro, is that he can get healthy and form a formidable 1-2 punch out of Seattle’s backfield with starter Chris Carson.
But that doesn’t mean just staying healthy will equal him getting the Seahawks’ backup RB job.
Based on what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and wide receiver DK Metcalf have said recently, Penny has some serious competition from one player in particular: Alex Collins.
“Alex is doing really well – he’s doing really well,” Carroll said Sunday after the Seahawks’ scrimmage at Lumen Field. “… He’s done nothing but good stuff. He’s a really good football player. He’s got great sense, terrific feet, he catches the ball well. He’s a willing and able blocker in pass protection. He’s got a great spirit that he brings to the team. He’s doing really well. I’m really fired up about him.”
Dave Wyman, Seahawks Radio Network color commentator and co-host of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Wyman and Bob, took special note of Carroll’s comments.
“That perked my ears up,” Wyman said about when he heard Carroll talking about Collins. “That’s pretty high praise from Pete there. He’s talking about what a good football player he is.”
Speaking of high praise, here’s what Metcalf had to say on Aug. 2: “Alex Collins is going to be a monster when he gets his shot.”
Collins, 26, was originally drafted in the fifth round by Seattle in 2016, but by his second season he had been released and signed by Baltimore. He shined with the Ravens for a time, rushing for 973 yards in 15 games in 2017, but was waived by the team in 2019 following a car crash and arrest (more details here).
After sitting out the 2019 season, Collins returned to the Seahawks as a practice squad member in 2020 and appeared in three games last season, totaling 77 yards and two touchdowns. He re-signed in the offseason, and it appears he will give Penny a real fight throughout the rest of training camp and the preseason, which starts at 6 p.m. Saturday when the Seahawks face the Raiders in Las Vegas.
“I know that Penny was a first-round pick. I know that he’s loaded with ability,” said Bob Stelton, the other half of Wyman and Bob. “We have yet to see it truly in any extended form, and he was already held out of the mock game because of an injury. I think Penny’s fighting for the backup spot – I don’t think that’s his. By all accounts Alex Collins has looked great out here and I think that very easily could be your backup. As we sit now, the idea of Alex Collins being the backup does not seem unrealistic by any stretch of the imagination.”
You can hear Wyman and Bob discuss Penny, Collins and the rest of the running backs vying for spots on Seattle’s roster in the opening segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.