Seahawks Draft RB Rashaad Penny After Trading Down, and Twitter Is Stunned

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

South Squad running back Rashaad Penny of San Diego State (20) in action during South team's practice for Saturday's Senior Bowl college football game in Mobile, Ala.,Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The Seattle Seahawks added the nation's leading rusher from the 2017 college football season to their backfield when they selected Rashaad Penny from San Diego State with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft Thursday. 

Seattle had traded back in the first round, announcing it sent the 18th and 248 picks to the Green Bay Packers for the 27th, 76th and 186th picks.

Although Penny was a 2017 All-American and an impressive force at the collegiate level, many were surprised to see him off the board so early:

Penny shared the backfield with the dominant Donnel Pumphrey early in his San Diego State career but truly broke on to scene in 2017, even after running for 1,018 yards in 2016. He finished the 2017 campaign with 2,248 rushing yards, 135 receiving yards, 23 touchdowns on the ground and two touchdown catches.

His versatility extended beyond his ability to make an impact in the rushing attack, as he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2015, two for scores in 2016 and another two in 2017. He even scored a touchdown on one of his two punt returns last year.

The Seahawks won't have to worry about getting him off the field on passing downs and could use him to provide a spark on special teams.

Penny's NFL.com draft profile lists him at 5'11" and 220 pounds, with NFL Media's Lance Zierlein noting the former Aztec "has desired NFL size for an every-down running back."

Zierlein also pointed to Penny's patience and prowess for setting up blocks while also praising his ability to run through arm tackles and use his strength to consistently break through tackles and finish runs through defenders.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller listed Penny as the seventh-best running back prospect in his pre-combine rankings, and Penny's production and versatility in college demonstrated he could develop into an impact player with a high ceiling at the next level.

Seattle will be looking for Penny to realize that potential in the coming years.

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