The Seattle Seahawks selected Rashaad Penny in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft to improve the running game.
The Seattle Seahawks surprised everyone by selecting San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny at the end of the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Penny is a talented back who ran for over 2,000 yards in his final college season. He is a versatile back who head coach Pete Carroll and company view as a three-down back.
Seattle won the Super Bowl through great defense and controlling the ball on the ground. However, they have been unable to do replicate the latter part since Marshawn Lynch left the team, and it is obvious the Carroll wants to get back to running the ball.
Penny can also make an impact in the return game for Seattle. Penny had seven career kick return touchdowns and two punt return touchdowns in college. While he did not primarily return kicks for the Aztecs, you can put him back there and he can make something happen.
While Penny does have the three-down skills as a runner and a receiver and can also contribute in the return game, he struggles with his pass protection. This is a flaw that Seattle clearly felt wasn’t dire enough to pass on Penny in the first round. While he does need to improve in this aspect of his game, having a quarterback like Russell Wilson will help make up for any mistakes made in pass protection.
So with Penny being a good player, and the focus being on running the ball, why was this pick such a surprise?
While we have seen a run of running backs being taken in the first round the past few years, they still don’t present good value in the first. With so many holes for Seattle to fill, including the offensive line that will block for Penny, they could have addressed the running back position later in the draft.
Teams do not invest a first-round pick to have a player sit on the bench, so Penny will get every opportunity to be the lead back for Seattle. Unfortunately for Penny, he will be running behind arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Playing alongside a quarterback like Wilson will make life easier for the rookie, however. This will be the first time since Lynch that Seattle will be able to have a competent running back to pair alongside Wilson.