Minutes before the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft, Chris Carson's phone rang. It was Seattle Seahawks' general manager John Schneider, who told the Oklahoma State running back they were selecting him with the 249th pick before handing the phone to head coach Pete Carroll.
“Remember your style: You’re gonna hammer it,” Carroll told him. “Physical, tough, knock the s*** out of ‘em. Special teams is a really big deal too. But bringing the attitude — there’s only one way for you to play. You know that. You were a little uncertain at times, but now you know that because you and I are green on that, right?”
Carson remembered special teams and remembered his style to beat the odds and earn a roster spot in a crowded backfield that already featured Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy and C.J. Prosise. Then slowly, gracefully and quietly, Chris Carson rose up the depth chart.
There is nothing slow, graceful or quiet about Carson's game.
He is a former three-star recruit from Georgia who played two years at Butler Community College and two years at Oklahoma State, where he didn't post gaudy numbers (1,076 yards and 13 touchdowns in 21 games) but caught scouts' attention with a punishing running style.
In the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' win over TCU last November, Carson took the handoff, cut left, avoided a shoe-string tackle and approached All-Big 12 safety Nick Orr. The 5-foot-11, 215-pound running back knocked the shit out of him. Ten yards later, he knocked the shit out of Horned Frogs' cornerback Julius Lewis.
Carson was the 83rd-ranked running back in the 2013 high school recruiting class. He was the fourth-ranked running back in the 2015 JUCO class, the No. 2 running back on Oklahoma State's depth chart last year and the 25th of 26 running backs selected in April's draft.
And just a few weeks ago, he was fighting for a roster spot as the fourth running back on a packed depth chart. Injuries and ineffectiveness from Rawls, Lacy and Prosise have thrust Carson into the lead role, where Carroll and the Seahawks want him to "knock the shit out of 'em."