If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wait on a running back, they may be keeping their eyes on the San Diego State standout Rashaad Penny.
Rashaad Penny is an intriguing prospect. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he may be the answer to the running back woes they’ve faced more often than not over the past six years at least. One thing is for certain; the Buccaneers can not leave the draft without taking a running back. Preferably within the first two rounds considering they no longer hold a third round selection. They waited until day three last season and we all know how that turned out, don’t we?
Some believe Penny is one of the best and most underrated backs in this class. Here’s what we know;
Rashaad Penny’s Collegiate Career
Penny finished his career at San Diego State with 3,656 yards on 488 attempts – a 7.5 yards per carry average – as well as 38 touchdowns. Penny also had 42 receptions for 479 yards and six touchdowns. Penny wound up finishing fourth in school history in rushing yards, first in rushing yards in a single season (2,248 in 2017), third in career rushing touchdowns, and tied for first in rushing touchdowns in a single season (23 in 2017).
More from Bucs Draft
- The Athletic’s early NFL Mock Draft has the Bucs taking a Top 5 QB in 2024
- Bucs front office reveals one thing the team missed during NFL Draft
- Peter King explains simple reason why Bucs passed on drafting Will Levis
- Mel Kiper Jr. hands out his official Buccaneers draft grade
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers undrafted free agents tracker 2023
Although Penny developed a reputation for being more of a finesse runner, he actually can get after defenses with a bit of power. At 5’11”, 220 lbs, Penny ran a 4.46 40-yard dash. His vision and patience are exactly what you’d like to see in a running back.
He isn’t afraid to run up the middle, but he’s patient enough to allow the play to develop in front of him and running lanes to open. Once they do, he hits them at full speed within his first few steps, allowing for big plays. Penny is listed as NFL.com’s fifth highest graded running back in the class, behind Saquon Barkley, Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones, and Sony Michel. Of those four, only Barkley had a faster 40 time (4.4).
On top of his speed, vision, and running style, Penny is also developing into a weapon in the passing game. When he’s had opportunities, Penny has done well as a receiver out of the backfield, but it’s certainly not his strength and could use a little more polish. However, it is something that could be a huge coup for the Buccaneers down the line.
Arguably, Penny’s biggest weakness comes in the passing game and it isn’t him coming out of the backfield as a receiver – it’s as a blocker. Penny can have difficulty picking up blitzes. It’s a fixable problem, but early on it could create the problem the Buccaneers had last season where based on what running back is in the game, they’re telegraphing what the play will be. The Bucs don’t need their running back of the future having to head to the sideline any time they want to throw the ball – especially with Koetter’s propensity for throwing on first down.
That’s certainly no reason to avoid Penny, just something to work and focus on in training camp. As Luke Easterling said, you don’t take him off the draft board just because he has a flaw. All the players have flaws. That’s why they’re prospects.
Why The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Need Him
Well, it’s pretty obvious. The Buccaneers are desperate at running back. If they don’t go with Barkley in the first round, Penny could be a day two option. His speed, elusiveness, sneaky power are all assets the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to look for in a running back. It seems as though their sites are set on Barkley, but if he isn’t there, we know they have interest in Penny. How much that interest aligns with where they are picking when Penny is available has yet to be seen.
Will It Happen?
It seems to be one of the more likely day two possibilities, but will take gaining an early pick in the third all the way to a mid-round pick in the second to pull it off. This could be accomplished in a trade down in the first round, but the sixth pick in the second round is a little rich. Penny is currently projected as a second-to-third round pick by WalterFootball.com, but the mid second round seems like the right fit depending on how the board falls. With as many talented backs as we see in this draft, teams may have no issues waiting on a back, causing the position as a whole to slide down a little.
Be sure to keep it locked here for profiles on a different prospect every day all the way until the draft kicks off, focusing on players that could be drafted from day one to day three by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.