Beast Mode, meet the Incredible Hulk.
The Seattle Seahawks appeared to resolve their desire to have a beastly backup for Marshawn Lynch, drafting bruising Utah State running back Robert Turbin in the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday.
He joins Aggies teammate Bobby Wagner, a linebacker Seattle selected in the second round Friday.
Turbin was one of seven players taken by Seattle on the final day of the three-day draft. The Seahawks drafted 10 players in all, the most taken by Seattle since general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll took over the team in 2010.
Turbin was productive for the Aggies, rushing for a career-high 1,517 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. He was voted the Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the year.
More impressive, Turbin posted those numbers coming off an ACL injury to his right knee during winter workouts that forced him to miss the 2010 season.
Along with Turbin, Seattle selected Florida defensive tackle Jaye Howard in the fourth round, then took Idaho linebacker Korey Toomer in the fifth round. In the sixth round, the Seahawks grabbed Northwestern State corner Jeremy Lane and Kentucky strong safety Winston Guy, followed by North Carolina State defensive tackle J.R. Sweezy and Louisville defensive end Greg Scruggs in the seventh round.
At 5-10 and 222 pounds, Turbin’s muscular build and physical running style have drawn comparisons to his new teammate, Lynch, and earned him the nickname Incredible Hulk – Turbin’s favorite childhood superhero.
“We liked the thought that when Marshawn comes off the field, we still have that impact player, big-time guy who can keep the rhythm going,” Carroll said.
Both are from the Bay Area – Lynch hales from Oakland and Turbin grew up in Freemont, Calif.
“A lot of coaches in the NFL kind of compare me to him, and say that my running style is similar to him, which is good for me, I guess, because Marshawn Lynch is a pretty good back,” Turbin said.
Turbin will be brought in to compete for the backup running back spots with free agents Kregg Lumpkin, Tyrell Sutton and Vai Taua. And Turbin understands nothing will be given to him.
“Being drafted is just a foot in the door,” Turbin said. “It’s just one step. Now, it’s all about doing everything I can to help the Seahawks win the Super Bowl, and doing everything I can to make myself a great football player.”
Turbin has dealt with more than his share of adversity. His oldest sister, Trina, battled multiple sclerosis and died at age 21, when Turbin was a 5-year-old.
Another sister, Tiffany, has been wheelchair-bound all her life. Turbin has helped care for her since he was a child.
“It’s motivated me a lot,” Turbin said about his family situation. “Now I have an opportunity to be there for my family.”
Seattle focused on the defensive side of the ball again this year, drafting eight defensive players. However one of those – the 6-5, 298-pound Sweezy – will be converted to an offensive guard.
Sweezy said he hasn’t played offensive line since Pee Wee football. Sweezy said that Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable worked him out a couple of weeks before the draft and asked him if he would be willing to switch.
“I talked about it with Coach Cable, and we decided that it would be a good decision,” Sweezy said. “I’m looking forward to learning about it and learning how to play the position.”
Twenty of the 28 players Seattle has drafted in the three drafts since Carroll and Schneider took over have been defensive players, which should not be a surprise with the defensive-minded Carroll leading the process.