Rashaad Penny: 2018 NFL Draft Profile

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Rashaad Penny Has Good Lateral Agility And Elusiveness

While Penny’s size would suggest that he is more of a power runner, Rashaad Penny is actually quite agile and explosive laterally. He is good at setting up defenders, making defenders miss, making subtle moves that help him bounce off errant tackles and utilizing his agility to maximize his blocking. The combination of his tough running, leg drive, and good lateral quickness makes him a force between the tackles.

On the play below, Rashaad Penny makes the defender whiff, turning what appeared to be a solid tackle attempt into an arm tackle that ultimately left the defender on the ground. He runs a little high to finish the run and isn’t able to pick up many yards through the contact, but the initial move was beautiful. That is a lot of what you see with Penny. He isn’t always able to combine his power and elusiveness, but he will usually flash one and get more yards than you would expect him to.

Penny shows off his lateral agility often when working his way through traffic in the middle of the field. He strings together a couple of moves in quick succession here that get him to the hole, and help him beat both defenders that threatened the line of scrimmage. He slashes here, again running a little upright, but his momentum helps carry him through the tackler for an extra yard.

The play below exemplifies how his vision and lateral quickness work well in combination. Penny recognizes the penetrating defender before he even takes the hand off and has a cut ready for him. He eludes the incoming defender with ease and turns what was likely to be a loss of yards into a two yard gain.

Rashaad Penny doesn’t necessarily wow you with elaborate juke moves, but he has excellent functional agility that works very well with his game. He gets behind his blockers and breaks off them very quickly and efficiently. He is able to avoid defenders with quickness and anticipation. Penny can make defenders miss in the open field and create extra yards, even when he doesn’t make defenders miss completely.

Rashaad Penny Has Excellent Vision

Rashaad Penny is among the best running bacls in this class at picking his way through traffic, working the middle of the defense, using his blockers and maximizing runs that don’t appear to be going anywhere. In my opinion, vision is one of the most important traits for a running back, and it is also one of Penny’s best traits.

The play below starts off to the left side of the line. You can see the linebacker come in and fill the spot where Rashaad Penny is aiming. The linebacker takes on the blocker, and another defender follows, ready to make the stop in the hole. Penny quickly recognizes this, immediately finds a cutback lane on the right side of the line, and bangs it between the tackles for a few yards.

Rashaad Penny does a really nice job on the run below of leaning outside while working his way back inside. There is very little space for him to run, but he finds the correct lane and gets up field. Not only does he find some space in the defense, he also splits defenders at the optimal distance so that none of the defenders are able to get much of a hand on him through the hole. He leans outside hard before cutting back behind his blocker to the inside.

Rashaad Penny sets a nice floor for himself with his vision. Runners that know where they need to be, how to get there, how to read their blocks, and anticipate and set up defenders tend to have success in the NFL, especially when they run tough and show good lateral agility and burst. His speed is an added bonus here as well.

Rashaad Penny Has The Ideal Level Of Patience

Where Nick Chubb is a little on the patient side, and Sony Michel is a little on the aggressive side, Penny has the ideal combination. Rashaad Penny knows when to slow down, when to turn on the jets, when to wait for his blockers and when to hit the hole and take what the defense gives him. Paired with his excellent vision, he is very effective at identifying the hole and hitting it at the right time.

On the run below, Penny waits for his pulling lineman to get in position, stutter steps a bit to give his lineman time to start getting up field, anticipates the positioning of the block and breaks up field. As soon as he reads that block, he turns on the jets into open field. That little extra bit of patience at the beginning of the play prevents this from being a broken run into a long yardage play.

On the pitch play below, Rashaad Penny faces a lot of interior defenders. He slows his pace, lets his fullback lead into the hole, waits for the defenders to bite inside, and then breaks outside, making a move on the defender and getting to the next level. He finishes the run well and picks up good yardage.

Rashaad Penny does a really good job of pressing the line of scrimmage in the play below. He scans the line, stays in control as he moves laterally and waits for the chance to break outside. As soon as everyone is tied up on the inside, Penny accelerates to the corner for the touchdown.

A lot of where Rashaad Penny succeeds is in the subtleties of running the football. His patience is a perfect example of this. You rarely see Penny dancing too much in the backfield. You rarely see him prematurely attacking the line of scrimmage. He balances his aggressiveness well and maximizes his excellent vision.

Rashaad Penny Does Well In The Receiving Game

Let me get this out of the way. Rashaad Penny is not a Saquon Barkley level receiver. He isn’t a Christian McCaffrey level receiver. He isn’t someone that the opposing team is going to have to game plan specifically for in the passing game. Rashaad Penny hasn’t shown much in the way of route running. He wasn’t asked to do much in that area, and he didn’t flash anything particularly impressive in his opportunities.

That said, Rashaad Penny is certainly a capable pass catcher, and that is a strength. He catches the ball well, uses his hands, extends away from his frame and generally looks natural catching the football. He will have a concentration drop here and there, but it isn’t anything that concerns me much. The fact that he has shown that he is capable in the receiving game is important, more important than it is for most prospects. We will get to why in just a minute.

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About the Author

Sean Lanigan
I love fantasy football, fantasy baseball, music, books, video games, and all things nerd. I'm a big football fan and a bigger Detroit Lions fan. I was born in Michigan but have spent the vast majority of my life living in Viking and Packer country. If you are a Lions fan in Minnesota, hit me up, and let's watch some football.