Get to know running back prospect Rashaad Penny.
Name: Rashaad Penny
Position: Running back
School: San Diego State
Ht/Wt: 5-11, 220
40 dash: 4.46 seconds
Bench: 13 reps
Vertical: 32.5 inches
Broad: 120.0 inches
3-cone: (didn’t run)
20-yard shuttle: (didn’t run)
How he fits: Even with the Lions signing veteran LeGarrette Blount, 31, in free agency, Lions general manager Bob Quinn could still be on the lookout to add a dynamic young running back in a class filled with them this season.
Penny led the nation with 2,248 rushing yards last season, and scored 23 touchdowns on 289 carries, finishing fifth in the Heisman voting. He can also return punts and kickoffs, adding to what he brings to the table at the NFL level.
Running backs with Penny’s combination of size, 4.4 speed and production don’t come around very often.
Key observations: Penny scored twice on kickoff returns last season, averaging 30.6 yards on 17 attempts (ranked fifth in the FBS). He also had a 70-yard punt-return touchdown.
He was the Mountain West Offensive and Special Teams Player of the Year award winner, the latter for the third consecutive season.
Some may question the level of competition Penny played against in the Mountain West Conference, but he had 216 yards and a touchdown vs. Arizona State in 2017, and another 175 yards and a score the following week vs. Stanford.
What they had to say about him: “Penny has an ideal blend of size, speed and production. He gets a lot of work in the SDSU offense and he's proven he can carry a heavy load. On inside runs, he has excellent vision. While he doesn't often punish defenders, he does absorb contact and generate extra yards.
“He has enough speed to get to the perimeter, and once in the open field, he can find a second gear to go the distance. He doesn't offer a lot of wiggle, but he does possess a firm stiff arm. He can catch the ball naturally, but he isn't used much in pass protection and will need some time to develop in that area. He has been ultra-productive as a kickoff returner throughout his career.” – Daniel Jeremiah
How he stacks up: NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has Penny tied with Georgia’s Nick Chubb as the fifth best running back available behind Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Sony Michel and Ronald Jones II.
NFL Draft Scout considers Penny to be the sixth best back available and No. 50 overall prospect.
Scouts Inc. also lists Penny as the sixth best back in the draft.
Most analysts consider Penny to be a second or third-round selection in next month’s draft.
What he had to say: “I'm just a patient runner,” Penny said at the Combine. “I see whatever that's open and I just go and hit it. That's how most guys say they see me.”