Rookie Rundown: RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

Rookie Rundown: RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

Rookie Analysis

Rookie Rundown: RB Rashaad Penny, San Diego State

(Jake Roth, USA TODAY Sports)

The younger brother of Arizona Cardinals running back Elijhaa Penny, San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny brings a throwback game to the NFL.

Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 220 pounds
40 time: 4.46 seconds

Gifted with ideal size for a heavy workload in the pros, Penny enters the draft after sharing touches with current Philadelphia Eagles back Donnel Pumphrey three of the past four seasons. Pumphrey was drafted in the fourth round last year, which made the 2017 starting job exclusively Penny’s.

Rashaad Penny stats (2014-17)

YEAR
ATT
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
REC
YDS
AVG
LNG
TD
2014
2
22
11
21
0
0
0
0
0
0
2015
61
368
6.0
55
4
8
120
15.0
33
1
2016
135
1005
7.4
73
11
15
224
14.9
41
3
2017
289
2248
7.8
95
23
19
135
7.1
33
2

As the table depicts, Penny did not disappoint. He ran his way onto the All-American first-team and All-Mountain West rosters, finishing fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

Pros

  • Tough-nosed runner who doesn’t take no for an answer around the goal line
  • High-motor with feet that never stop. Plays with “patient urgency.”
  • Just fast enough not to be caught by most trailing defenders if he has a full step
  • Understands defensive angles and adjusts his rushes accordingly
  • Displays quick enough feet to make defenders miss with subtle changes in body lean and is able to make late cuts off of strong blocks
  • Dangerous as a return man on special teams (reminds of Brian Mitchell in this area). Scored seven times over the past three years.
  • Plows through weak attempts at tackles like they never happened
  • Capable blocker in pass pro
  • Extremely productive even with limited touches
  • Capable of playing well out of spread and pro formations
  • NFL bloodline

Cons

  • Despite running a healthy 40 time at the NFL Scouting Combine, it doesn’t translate as well on tape. Fast enough, as mentioned above, but he’s not going to blow by anyone on speed alone.
  • Limited involvement in receiving game. Not necessarily a bad catcher of the ball. Inexperience with vast array of routes.
  • Questions about his ability to pick up an NFL playbook as early as desired — may need to be slowly worked into a game plan
  • Vision isn’t as great as it could be to find cutback lanes. Sometimes unable to reach the holes due to just average lateral cut ability.
  • Runs taller than preferred for a sub-6-footer. Opens himself to too many punishing hits.
  • Doesn’t have start-stop ability to his game in the second level — takes too long to gear up.

Fantasy outlook

Penny, unlike his older brother, will be drafted. He could sneak into the second round, but with several polished backs in this year’s deep class, he may have to wait until the third or even early fourth rounds.

Perceived limitations could resign him to power-blocking systems, although Penny could manage just fine in a zone scheme. He should offer two-down utility for time-sharing backfields, and having the flexibility of being a special teams guy won’t hurt his chances.

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Fantasy-wise, Penny probably will need to catch a few breaks in 2018 to offer utility. Given his stock range in a deep class, his landing spot is of extreme importance for finding fantasy relevance. Translation: He isn’t a transcendent player like Sony Michel or Saquon Barkley, guys who excel in any offense.

Penny could wind up with a number of teams, notably the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Indianapolis Colts.

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