The Seahawks took Rashaad Penny No. 27 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. To say he’s been a disappointment so far in his career would be an understatement.
Penny was a standout talent at San Diego State, rushing for 3,656 yards and 38 touchdowns during his four years with the Aztecs. The majority of those numbers, however, came from his incredible senior campaign in 2017 in which he carried the ball 289 times for 2,248 yards and 23 touchdowns. Insane.
His senior stats were what propelled him into the first-round pick the Seahawks knew they wanted him in their backfield. It’s usually not as questionable to take a running back in round one if a team holds a later pick and the Seahawks had the sixth-to-last pick that year as well.
Rashaad Penny has not lived up to the hype during his two years in the NFL.
When the Seahawks took Penny in the first round, they expected him to be their starting running back. They expected him to be that guy who opposing defenses feared and had to heavily game plan for.
Instead, he’s yet to start for Seattle while appearing in 24 total regular-season games in two seasons. He’s had just 150 carries for 789 yards and five touchdowns while adding another touchdown as a receiver.
This is not the production Seattle was hoping for. They didn’t expect to see Penny leapfrogged on the depth chart by 2017 seventh-round pick Chris Carson, who has done everything they expected to see out of Penny. Carson has had two 1,000 yard seasons for Seattle and is a running back teams have to game plan for. He became what Penny couldn’t.
Penny’s issues have been injuries, as he’s currently recovering from an ACL tear he sustained last year. Throw in the fact that the level of competition is much tougher than that of the Mountain West Conference and Penny’s struggles at the next level make sense.
The 2020 season is going to be Penny’s final chance to show he was worthy of that first-round pick two years ago. The Seahawks struck gold with Carson and they also have Carlos Hyde, who is coming off a 1,000-yard season in Houston, on the depth chart as well.
If Rashaad Penny can’t stay healthy and show his team glimpses of that 2017 performance, then his time in Seattle will come to an end, and deservedly so.