Rookie Impact: Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

I’ve been told that Rashaad Penny is the second best running back in this draft class. While I disagree with that statement, after watching his game clips, I came away impressed with the talented running back.


5’11”, 220-pounds

Body Mass Index: 30.7 (57TH-percentile)

Arms: 31 ¼”

Hands: 9 ¼”

Posting a stellar 4.46 40-Yard Dash during the combine, with his bell-cow back size of 5’11” and 220-pounds, Rashaad Penny presents an interesting prospect. However, Penny underperformed in the Vertical Jump and was only decent in the Broad Jump. Penny did not participate in any of the agility drills, which after watching his film was likely a smart move, as that is not the biggest pillar of strength in his game. I am very disappointed in his Bench Press numbers as well. Only posting 13 reps on the Bench Press at his 220-pounds is disappointing. The Bench has little correlation to actual on-field success, I know. However, this is his job interview and to only post those numbers gives me a little worry about the dedication to his craft. It’s a known test and he should have been better prepared for it.

Measuring in at 5’11”, 220-pounds, Penny ran a 4.46-second 40-Yard Dash Penny and posted a 111.2 Speed Score (which factors the player’s weight with his 40-Yard Dash and assigns a premium to bigger backs). His overall score puts him in the 91ST-percentile. Just as I was worried about Kalen Ballage’s miniscule Bench Press numbers, it also applies to Penny.

Rashaad Penny produced a stellar 50.1% College Dominator Rating (DR). This metric looks at the percentage of a running back’s total team yards and touchdowns while in college, which is an out of this world 98TH-percentile! He also posted a stellar 10.3% College Target Share, which measures the percent of all passing targets directed at the player, good for 72ND-percentile. It wasn’t until Donnel Pumphrey went to the NFL that Penny took over and claimed the position as his own. ProFootballFocus tracked Penny as having 80 missed tackles on the ground in 2017. He also posted the 2ND best Elusive Rating with a 128.6. Elusive rating tracks missed-tackles-forced either through juking defenders or trucking over players with Yards Gained After Contact as the metric. Penny also scored a Breakaway of 57.6%. Breakaway percentage tracks the yards gained on runs over 15 yards, divided it by total rushing yards.

Film Strengths

Rashaad Penny has good but not great lateral speed. He uses good vision and patience for his lanes to develop. Penny saw time on the field as a returner on both the punting and kicking units. There is good size and speed to his game. There is also a great blend of power, agility, and elusiveness, particularly with his size. Watching Penny, you can see that he does a great job of bending his hips and slipping tackles. He can run over defenders just as easily as he can attack angles and get players off balance. With a strong lower body, Penny has the balance to stay upright after first contact and continue downfield.

Film Weaknesses

At times, Penny will do too much with a swing-and-a-miss on a home-run try, when the opportunity is best suited for batting a single. Penny had a great Breakaway percentage but did not appear to be a true home run threat for runs over 40 yards. Against bigger competition, he got caught from behind just a few too many times. Penny is an absolute liability in pass protection. He misses blocking assignments and fails to anchor when taking on blockers. As a former Christine Michael truther (please don’t log off now), I see an issue where Penny favors carrying the ball in one arm and seems to have trouble switching the ball to the side away from defenders. I’m not worried about Penny and ball security as he had a fumble rate of once for every 105.8 offensive touches.


Penny falls right into that tier of RBs after Nick Chubb and the top two guys. One of my chief concerns is that he comes out of the Mountain West conference with a majority of his work being done against lower-level competition. Penny got tripped up or caught from behind by players who might not be NFL-quality and his speed also remains a concern. He has a solid running style that translates well to the NFL and his stout build is promising.

I’m interested to see where Penny is selected in fantasy football drafts. While he is a liability in pass protection, it is something that can be learned and improved. Penny is a high-upside back with top-tier metrics and is locked in for the first-round of your fantasy drafts.


FF Shaman | Fantasy Football writer on | #DEVY writer @DFF_Devy & @DFF_Dynasty #DevyWatch #DynastyFootball | Marine Veteran | ??⚓️ @_PeteLaw

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