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Seahawks select Mafe, Walker back-to-back in 2nd round

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III was selected at No. 41 in round two of the NFL Draft.
Credit: AP
Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III rushes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

SEATTLE — The Seattle Seahawks continued to address specific needs by selecting edge rusher Boye Mafe from Minnesota with the No. 40 pick and running back Kenneth Walker III from Michigan State at No. 41 in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night.

Selecting Mafe made sense for Seattle, which is looking to bolster its pass rush with an athletic edge rusher as the Seahawks adjust to more of a 3-4 defensive scheme.

But drafting Walker immediately raises questions about the health of running back Chris Carson after he underwent neck surgery last season. Seattle re-signed Rashaad Penny as the likely primary running back.

The picks also showed that despite trading Russell Wilson, Seattle wasn’t interested in any of the quarterbacks that were still available at this point in the draft.

Seattle got its left tackle of the future when it selected Charles Cross from Mississippi State with the No. 9 overall pick in the first round. It was Seattle’s highest pick since 2010, when it selected left tackle Russell Okung at No. 6. 

RELATED: Michigan safety Dax Hill selected by Cincinnati Bengals in NFL Draft’s First Round

Mafe was a third-team All-Big Ten selection and led Minnesota in tackles for loss and sacks last season. At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, Mafe has impressive speed and athleticism, running a 4.53 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and posting a 41½-inch vertical leap at his pro day.

Walker’s resume makes it hard to argue with the selection, especially if Carson is unlikely to return to full health. Walker was a first-team AP All-American, the Big Ten running back of the year, and he won both the Doak Walker and Walter Camp awards. Walker finished second in the country with 1,636 yards rushing and 18 rushing touchdowns last season. He finished sixth in voting for the Heisman Trophy.

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