STACY ROST

Seahawks draft RB Rashaad Penny at No. 27, and they weren’t the only team who wanted him

Apr 26, 2018, 8:40 PM | Updated: 10:21 pm

New Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny says he had dozens of friends and family members at his home to watch the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday – but the call from the Seahawks at No. 27 still caught him by surprise.

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“We didn’t expect this,” Penny said in his first interview with Seattle media. “It’s amazing.”

The Seahawks’ selection of Penny was followed by another surprise – at least for general manager John Schneider. Schneider said that after Seattle selected Penny, another team called to explore the possibility of trading for Penny.

“Really, a true rarity is that we had a team call us after we selected him to try to acquire him, which is, I’ve never experienced that. So we feel very blessed tonight.

“Isn’t that cool?” Schneider added with a laugh.

The selection of Penny helps address one of the Seahawks’ biggest needs on Day 1 of the draft. The Seahawks have struggled with inconsistency in their run game since the departure of Marshawn Lynch, to the point that they had just one touchdown scored by a running back last season.

In free agency last month, Seattle added guard D.J. Fluker and tight end Ed Dickson, both of whom have excelled at run-blocking. The hope is, undoubtedly, that Penny can help round out Seattle’s plan to return to a powerful running team.

He is also a threat in the return game, having returned one punt and two kickoffs for TDs in 2017 with San Diego State.

“He’s humble, he’s ready to work,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “Whatever we want, he’ll do. The special teams is so unique, he’s really something. He’ll be able to help Tyler (Lockett), take the burden off at times… He’s coming in here to compete, he knows that, we aren’t just going to hand him the job. He’s going to come in here and battle, which he’s ready to do. But he’s such an exciting player and he’s so versatile and so dynamic.”

Schneider praised Penny’s hands and spacial awareness. He differs from the physical, bulldozing style Seahawks fans are familiar with in Lynch. Rather, Penny describes himself as an elusive back.

“I’m a patient runner,” Penny said. “I’m very elusive, I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I can do whatever it takes to help win a game, that’s for sure. That’s a mindset I’m bringing to Seattle. I’m bringing that mindset that I’m going to help win games, and that’s the number one thing. I just want to bring that team back to where it was a few years ago, make a huge playoff run and eventually go to the Super Bowl. That’s the goal.”

While the Seahawks traded back from No. 18 overall to No. 27 in a swap with the Packers, Schneider said he would have selected Penny at 18.

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Seahawks draft RB Rashaad Penny at No. 27, and they weren’t the only team who wanted him