Rashaad Penny | 5’11 | 222 | predicted 4.52 40 by NFL Draft Scout
- v. Northern Illinois (4-8) (MAC) (3rd in YPCa, 11th in YPGz, T-17Th in TDa)
25a / 107yds / 4.3ypc / 0 GTD -|- 2c / 32yds / 1 ATD
- v. Fresno State (10-4) (MW) (20th in YPCa, 15th in YPGa, T-21st in TDa)
15a / 69yds / 4.6ypc / 0 GTD -|- 1c / 9yd / 0 ATD
- v. 20 Stanford (9-5) (PAC12) (74th in YPCa, 73rd in YPGa, T-46th in TDa)
32a / 175yds / 5.5ypc / 1 GTD -|- 4c / 38yds / 1 ATD
- v. 22 Boise State (11-3) (MW) (21st in YPCa, 20th in YPGa, T-67th in TDa)
21a / 53yds / 2.5ypc / 1 GTD -|- 0c
|Year||Games Played||Carries||Rush Yards||YPC||GTDs||Catches||Receiving Yards||ATDs|
- 1st team All American RB (2017)
- Finalist in Walter Camp POY (2017)
- MW Special Teams POY (2015, 2016, 2017)
- MW OPOY (2017)
All 4 years spent with Assistant HC / RB coach (2011-present) and OC(2015-present) Jeff Horton who coached in the NFL for the Rams (2006-2008) as an OL coach/Assistant HC, Lions (2009, Stafford’s rookie year) as a QB coach, and Vikings (2010) as a QB coach/OC/Interim HC.
Injuries and workload
Aside from being poked in the eye during the Northern Illinois game and listed with a left thigh bruise in 2017 camp, I can’t find any other injury history. As for his workload, he received 44% of the team’s available touches (carries+sacks+receptions) and generated 88% of the team’s rushing yards as well as, 54% of the team’s total yards in 2017. Prior to 2017, he was a backup to Donnel Pumphrey (FBS all-time leading rusher) and a return man. This causes me to believe that he does not have high mileage and when combined with his age (22 at draft day) he, barring injury, should be a prime candidate to be signed to a second contract by the team that drafts him, assuming he is wanted/fits in their cap situation.
Best: Toughness, Finishing with strength+balance, Pass blocking
Rashaad displays an elite frame (ideal BMI, weight, and height IMO), very good balance, good long speed and strength, and solid accel, change of direction, and agility. He has solid mental processing exampled by solid to good ability to read blocks and set up defenders using his eyes. Penny has great toughness and competitive drive. He is very aggressive with the ball, competes against all competition, steps up against bigger opponents (while this isn’t shown in his Boise game statline; in the blocking he received was poor at best often forcing him to make 2-3 yd losses into 1 yd gains), and hustles downfield when off the ball. He rises to and embraces contact, does not stop his feet regardless who is set to meet him in the hole and always fights for extra yards after contact. He is who SDST turned to in clutch/late game/3rd down/4th down situations. He displays good vision in Inside Zone and Gap runs, is good at improvising when the play breaks down, has good patience and is solid at reading cutback lanes in both Zone and Gap runs. He displays solid to good burst exampled by a solid 0-60, very good 60-0, good at hitting the hole, very good at altering defenders angles and elite at getting more yards that the line blocks. He has good to very good ability to create yards after contact and finish runs exampled being very good at finishing with power and balance(I believe I wrote down or checked off “Arm tackles don’t work vs. Penny” easily 20-25 times in the 4 games) and uses this power to be good to very good at performing this skill vs DBs and DL as well as, good vs. LBs while also being very good at falling forward and fighting for extra yards. In the passing game he catches out of his body and uses his hands like a WR would, has a very good catch radius (exampled by his 2 yds behind, 2yds above, 360 jump/spin catch on a screen pass vs. Stanford), is solid to good at flipping his hips and turning upfield from catches from screens or checkdowns, and is good at presenting his numbers and hands to the QB as a checkdown. He is used both out of the backfield for swings, screens, flats, curls, and checkdowns as well as split out wide to run slant and flat routes. As a pass protector, Penny is very good. He displays a want to block while having good technique in his feet, hands, and ability to anchor (exampled during the Fresno State game where he 1v1d a 6’3 245lb edge rusher with 6 sacks on the year for 4-5 seconds of stonewalling him).
Worst: Ball Security, Too eager to bounce outside/cut back, IDing blitz pickup
Penny needs to improve his ball security, specifically in piles and where he carries the ball (doesn’t always put the ball on the side of his body opposite would be tacklers). This may be solved by him changing his tendency to run with high pad level. My next concern is with his vision as he is too eager to cut back on toss plays which can get him in trouble and lead to turning a 1yd gain to a 3yd loss (exampled in the Boise game). Also, he is eager to bounce outside and may lose his patience quickly when the hole he predicts to be open isn’t open on inside zones and powers which can result in big plays (TD in Boise game) or sacrifice easy yards for trying to beat corners in space, which is unlikely to as consistently happen in the NFL. In respect to his ability to get yards after contact and finish runs, he is solid at finishing with elusiveness and speed but, should look to build on this at the next level to round out his game more. He does not read zone coverages when split out wide to find the soft spots well and does not utilize his burst to create separation from defenders in man coverage as well as he could. The concern I have that could have the most to do with him being a day 1 starter has to do with pass protection/mental processing which is improving on his ability to know pass protections and ID blitzers. Currently, he is poor to adequate at best in this area but, if he can improve this (which is certainly something a decent RB-C can teach in the NFL) and combine it with very good pass blocking technique, he will be an elite pass protector and a true 3 down back.
Pro Comp. and Projections:
- Demarco Murray: A true three down back who can beat you with speed/burst, strength, and vision while also being a reliable blocker, viable receiver both in the backfield as well as out wide, and being versatile enough to run Zone and Gap schemes. He even shares Demarco’s ball security issue and tendency to bounce outside and cut back on runs prematurely.
I consider Penny tied for the third best RB in the class with Sony Michel, behind Saquon and Guice. He will be the best value pick in the draft (a la Hunt and Howard before him) if he maintains his current stock of early day 3, although, he could land a similar draft position to my pro-comp Demarco Murray at the top of the third round with a good combine. A bad combine would maintain Penny’s current stock but, again like Hunt and Howard before him, I believe he will be considered a top rookie RB who is looking to fight towards borderline elite RB status by the end of his second year.