12 Most intriguing Seahawks: No. 3, RB Rashaad Penny
Mike Salk and Brock Huard are counting down the 12 most intriguing Seahawks players every weekday morning at 9:30 a.m. leading up to the first day of training camp on July 26. (All 2018 Seahawks Training Camp dates and times can be found here.)
The pair continued the countdown Tuesday morning by focusing on their No. 3 pick: Running back Rashaad Penny.
At a glance
The Seahawks drafted former San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny with the 27th-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, making him just the second player in six years to be selected in the first round by Seattle. Penny was the nation’s leading rusher in 2017, with 2,248 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. He never missed a game over the course of his college career, finishing with a combined 4,135 yards and 44 touchdowns. Penny also brings speed (his 4.46 40-yard dash ranked third among this year’s backs) and experience on special teams as a kick returner.
“Penny is intriguing because the Seahawks selected him with a first-round pick – they traded down, but they ultimately made a first-round pick. When do they ever make a first-round pick? When do they ever feel good about it? They didn’t even have a second-round pick for crying out loud. People called; the Seahawks could’ve made a move and they could’ve continued to trade down. They didn’t. Sony Michel was sitting there and Nick Chubb was sitting there – very familiar names were sitting on the board. And the Seattle Seahawks selected Rashaad Penny. This is despite the fact that a lot of pundits did not think of him as a Top-5 running back in this draft class. The Seahawks did, though, and they thought so highly of him that they took him ahead of Michel and Chubb and everybody else.
“Seattle is counting on Rashaad Penny to be more than just a running back. He was a dominant special teamer. In a league with a team that’s going to need help in the other phases of the game – with some takeaways on defense and special teams difference makers – special teams coach Brian Schneider isn’t just looking at Rashaad Penny as a running back; he knows the weapon he can be in the return game.”
“Another thing to consider: the Seahawks’ defense is going to give up more points. That’s just going to happen. With their lack of depth on the defensive line and young players, they’re going to give up more points than we’re used to. How are you going to make up for it? Well, you’re going to have tremendous competition in the special teams game. And that’s got to be A-1; that can’t be a failing grade, as it was too many times last year. And then also, you better have Tyler Lockett, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise and Chris Carson. You better have guys who, when I check the ball down, cam break a tackle and take it 55 yards. That is something they have not had in the past. It’s a dynamic this kid brings to the table – a dynamic the Seahawks thought so highly of that they gave up incredibly valuable draft capital for him.”
“Why Rashaad Penny so intriguing? Because they actually spent a first-round pick on a running back. It was already considered to be a position where you thought you had, not quite strength, but at least some solidity. And the Seahawks – despite desperately needing pass rush help, despite needing to replace Richard Sherman, despite having problems potentially at safety with Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor leaving, despite having one of the worst offensive lines in history – said, ‘Oh, we’re going to take a running back.’
“There’s a lot riding on this kid’s shoulders. And there’s two things that I love about him. One, he’s a home run threat. Pete Carroll said it specifically: he can score from anywhere on the field, something the Seahawks haven’t had nearly enough of recently.
“Two, he makes people miss. He certainly did in college. I’m going to give you two things from Pro Football Focus: One, what incoming running back forced the most missed tackles in college in 2017? Easy answer, Rashaad Penny. Here’s the second question: by how many tackles was he ahead of number two on this list? 29. He was number one with 89 missed tackles forced.”