Rashaad Penny, the Surprise of the Night
Oddly enough, it was a surprise to many when the NCAA’s 2017 rushing leader out of San Diego State University was selected in the first round, 27th overall, by the Seattle Seahawks in this year’s 2018 NFL Draft. A surprise to everyone but Rashaad Penny himself, that is. To many, Penny was a second-round projection, but according to SDSU Head Coach Rocky Long, Penny packed his bags and headed home the day before the draft and waited for his name to be called. Turns out, he didn’t have to wait as long as all the “experts” told him he would. “You start looking at all the mock drafts and projections. But then as the process starts going on and on, I started realizing that the mocks and projections don’t mean anything.”, Penny said. Winding up in Seattle is just the icing on the cake. “I asked him, ‘Who would you like to go to?’” Long said. “Rashaad said he wanted to go to the Seahawks. How about that one? So, he had a feeling.”
Seattle is getting one of the most gifted talents coming out of this draft class and will likely look to use him as a three-down back. For that to happen, Penny knows he will need to work a bit on pass protection. “I know I have to protect that million-dollar man back there, Russel Wilson (QB)” Penny said. “I’m excited to join him and be on his side and everybody else in that Seahawks organization.” Even if Penny doesn’t work as a three-down back right away, he will still provide an immediate impact to a Seahawks team that only put up one rushing touchdown by a running back in 2017. We all know he can run, his 2,248 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns proved that. He didn’t wow anyone with his reception numbers, but Penny can certainly catch the ball and he can add an additional spark on special teams if needed. His 429 all-purpose yards in a win over Nevada broke the record for most offensive yards in a single game, a record previously held by Marshall Faulk, the only other SDSU running back ever drafted in the first round. In that game, Penny had touchdown runs of 23 and 67 yards. He also took a punt 70 yards to the house and added a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown. Had a 70 yard touchdown not been called back, he would have flirted with the 500-yard mark.
Rashaad Penny may be the surprise of the night, but don’t be surprised when he’s a nuisance to NFC West division foes for many years to come.
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