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Rashaad Penny-SDSU

The NFL draft is just days away, and by this point each player has been analyzed, scrutinized, and romanticized by every NFL guru from Kalamazoo to Calcutta. We here at turn once again to our director of scouting Nathan Cooper to help us look deeper into the draft at some guys from the group of five that may be a real steal on draft day!

Rashaad Penny College: San Diego State

Position: Running Back

Year: 4SR

Jersey: #20

Hometown: Norwalk, CA

Games Scouted: 2017 #2 @ Arizona State, #3 Stanford, #7 Boise State, #10 San Jose State,

Senior Bowl Practices (Live), Senior Bowl (Live) 2017 Stats: 13 GP, 289 Rushes, 2248 Yards, 23 TD, 19 Rec, 135 Yards, 2 TD,

521 KR Yards, 2 TD, 70 PR Yards, 1 TD Career Stats: 54 GP, 488 Rushes, 3656 Yards, 38 TD, 42 Rec, 479 Yards, 6 TD,

2449 KR Yards, 7 TD, 70 PR Yards, 1 TD All-Star Game: Senior Bowl


  • 2017 First Team All-American as Running Back (Associated Press)

  • 3x MWC Special Teams Player of the Year (2015, 2016, 2017 – Coaches)

  • 2017 MWC Offensive Player of the Year (Coaches)

  • 3x First Team All-MWC as Returner (2015, 2016, 2017 – Coaches)

  • 2017 First Team All-MWC as Running Back (Coaches)

  • Major in Interdisciplinary Studies

  • 3-Star Composite in 2014 (247Sports)

Character – A

  • 2017 Team Captain

Medical – A

  • 2017 – Had right eye gouged against Northern Illinois

  • 2017 – Suffered a left thigh bruise during Fall Camp


  • Very good vision and instincts

  • Good speed with a burst and acceleration

  • Very good contact balance

  • Game-changing ability as a returner


  • Doesn’t always show patience to allow blocks to develop

  • Struggles in pass pro with strength and anchor ability


Penny projects as a starting Running Back in a zone scheme at the next level. At San Diego State, a vast majority of his runs came on zone-blocking schemes. San Diego State loves to run the football and rotate backs, so although he is only a one-year starter, he has gotten plenty of carries in his career. Even in 2016 when his teammate and record-setting Running Back Donnel Pumphrey ran the ball 349 times, Penny still carried the ball 136 times for 1,018 yards. He is a one-cut, downhill runner and he’ll fit best into a zone-blocking scheme in the NFL. He is a very good athlete with good reactive athleticism, although he looks to stand too tall and be a little stiff running the ball at times. He is a competitor and runs with toughness on every play. He has very good instincts and runs with incredible vision. He’s able to turn a lot of negative plays into positive plays due to making a cut and finding another hole. Sometimes he doesn’t allow his blocks to set up and will run into the backs of his blockers. That impatience forces him to either lose yards or miss out on a long gain. He has very good contact balance and regularly breaks tackles. He rarely gets taken down by the first defender and is able to make guys miss and gain extra yardage. Although he is a one-cut runner that runs north and south with power, he still shows the elusiveness to put a move on a defender in the open-field. He’s able to use his speed to get to the edge and outrun defenders. He also shows an extra gear once he gets through the LOS and is able to break off big plays. He also shows great acceleration and burst through the line to pick up more yardage than just what the play is designed for. Penny is a playmaker in all facets of the game. As a receiver, he shows good hands and receiving ability. He may be a liability early on if he’s asked to pass block, as he struggles in pass pro. He is a willing blocker, but he struggles to use strength and anchor against oncoming rushers. He shows decent awareness in picking up the blitz, but struggles to make an effective block. With all that being said, on 3rd downs he should be an effective receiver out of the backfield or lined up in the slot, but will struggle in pass pro. He brings dynamic special teams ability as a kick returner. He finished his college career with over 2,500 return yards and 8 total touchdowns. He may be able to play on another team or two, but is a definite game-changer right away as a kick returner. Along with that, he shouldn’t have any problem coming in right away and fighting for the starting RB job and having it no later than his second season.

NFL Comparison: Doug Martin, Buccaneers (1st Round, 2012) Penny and Martin have similar body types, in that they have thick, powerful lower-halves. They both are downhill, zone runners with good vision and speed. They can do a little bit of everything: run, catch and return.

Grade: 6.8 (Mid-Late 1st Round)

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