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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Rashad Penny, RB, San Diego State

San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny is profiled in preparation for the 2018 NFL Draft. 

Rashaad Penny - San Diego State Aztecs


Position: Running Back
Height: 5'11"
Weight: 220
Year: Senior
Hometown: Norwalk, CA
Experience: 1 year starter



40yd dash: 4.46
Broad jump: 120
Vertical: 32.5
3-cone: N/A
20yd. Shuttle: N/A
Bench Press: 13


Career Notes:

Penny sat behind the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher Donnel Pumphrey for three years before becoming the lead back for the Aztecs in 2017. He made the most of his opportunity, rushing for over 2,000 yards and 23 touchdowns, earning himself a consensus All-America selection and a fifth-place finish in Heisman Trophy voting.

But Penny is no one-year wonder. He’s produced well in every role he’s been given in his collegiate career. Even in a backup role in 2016 he eclipsed 1,000 yards in limited opportunities. A three-star recruit out of high school, Penny rarely played in his first two years on campus. He initially earned his stripes as a special teams standout. He totaled eight return touchdowns in his career and averaged over 30 yards per kickoff return in each of his final three college seasons.

Penny was a workhorse in 2017, touching the ball over 300 times in 13 games. But he has fewer than 500 carries in his college career, so wear and tear are not giant concerns.


Injury Report: 

No known injuries to report.


2017 Stats: 289 carries, 2,248 yards, 23 TD; 19 receptions, 135 yards, 2 TD

Career Stats:  



Speed/Quickness: 4.0/5.0

Penny posted a very solid 4.46-second 40-yard dash time and shows a surprising amount of athleticism for a runner with a relatively big frame. He seems to lack the speed to be a true home run threat at the next level, but -- to extend the baseball analogy -- he’s able to consistently hit doubles. He did have enough juice to score eight special teams touchdowns in his career and he was able to cash in on a 73-yard touchdown reception in the Senior Bowl.

His lateral quickness falls in the same good-not-great range. He’s elusive in the open field but more impressive is his ability to make defenders miss in tight areas with subtle changes of direction. San Diego State’s offense allowed Penny to run behind a fullback and with tight ends, so he’s used to sorting his way through the muck and finding daylight. He doesn’t exactly leave a pile of embarrassed defenders in his wake, but he’s effective at eluding potential tacklers.

Vision: 4.5/5.0

Penny’s running style is decisive and effective, ideal for NFL offenses. Like many college backs, he had a tendency his junior year to trust his athleticism more than his blocking, unnecessarily bouncing runs outside, but he improved on this in 2017. He enters the draft with some of the best vision in the class.

He projects as a direct, one-cut back at the next level. While he’ll occasionally miss out on some cutback lanes that could lead to big plays, he’s adept at finding small creases that turn small gains into moderate ones.

Power: 3.0/5.0

He displays functional running power, but it’s nothing spectacular, especially for a 220-pound back. Penny has the ability to run through arm tackles and he’s able to keep defenders away with a solid stiff-arm move, but he rarely runs straight through defenders and can go down easily at times. His pad level is good but not great.

His power manifests itself in more subtle ways. He consistently finishes runs by falling forward, allowing him to pick up hidden yardage and move the chains.

Receiving/Blocking: 3.5/5.0

He showed natural hands and ball skills as a receiver, totaling 42 receptions for 479 yards in his college career. He shows a good feel for deception and timing in the screen game. Although he has some experience split out wide, his route running isn’t polished enough to be that versatile in the NFL right away.

He may struggle to stay on the field initially at the next level due to his shortcomings as a pass protector. He’s effective enough at chipping defenders while running routes, but he struggles to hold up one-on-one during blitz pickup. He’ll occasionally miss protection assignments, and he tends to give up ground easily when engaging with blitzers.

Ball Security: 4.0/5.0

Penny had six fumbles on over 600 career touches, so ball security isn’t a big concern, although he could add some upper-body strength to prevent fumbles at the next level.

Overall Grade: 3.80/5.0

What he lacks in spectacular highlights and playmaking ability, Penny makes up for with consistent production. As a jack of all trades but master of none, it’s hard to see Penny becoming a bona fide star in the NFL, but it’s also hard to imagine him not having an overall productive career. 

He’ll likely have to start his career as a kick returner and may not be able to stay on the field for third downs at first, but he could be a consistent chain-mover as early as his rookie year. While he occasionally only gains what is blocked for him, he also rarely wastes good blocking: a trait that his future coaches and teammates will undoubtedly appreciate.


If drafted by the Packers:

Penny is an intriguing prospect for the Packers but he ultimately may be off the board before they would consider taking a two-down running back.

Although the Packers will likely add some competition to the Jones-Montgomery-Williams backfield trio already in place, Green Bay may still be addressing defensive holes when Penny is likely to be drafted in the first three rounds. Drafting a running back that early would say a lot about how the Packers view either a player like Penny or the collection of backs currently on the roster -- or possibly both.





Matt Kelley is a staff writer for Cheesehead TV. He can be found on Twitter via @hustleandheart1

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Comments (10)

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John Kirk's picture

April 08, 2018 at 04:07 pm

He made a wow play in the Senior Bowl, I think it was.

Bucky Brooks has him going to us in Round 2, or so I read somewhere.

If we're getting another RB, I want Sony, the one and only.

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Hematite's picture

April 08, 2018 at 04:12 pm

I could possibly see taking a running back on day 3.

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stockholder's picture

April 08, 2018 at 04:48 pm

We have running back by committee. Not a Home run hitter? Pass.

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TKWorldWide's picture

April 09, 2018 at 07:29 am

How can he run a 4.46 and NOT be a home run hitter?
That seems odd.

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Joe Bradley's picture

November 22, 2018 at 09:32 am

Good player. Interesting stats and I think he is potentially very strong. By the way, I use some statistical data from NFL players for my project on and I can say, that such data can tell a lot about the player and the team as a whole, which can help to choose in the draft.

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jacqueline09's picture

September 13, 2019 at 02:39 am

Nice Player :)

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QuentinTorr's picture

February 24, 2020 at 04:15 am

I recently wrote an article on the Penny's career, great player!

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QuentinTorr's picture

February 24, 2020 at 04:15 am

You can find it in here

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KarenBowers's picture

April 30, 2020 at 06:05 am


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Williamjhoned's picture

February 24, 2021 at 12:49 am


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