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June 22, 2023

Eagles player review: RB Rashaad Penny edition

Jimmy gives his scouting report on new Eagles running back Rashaad Penny

Eagles NFL
6.1.23_EaglesRashaad-Penny_ColleenClaggett-0177.jpg Colleen Claggett/for PhillyVoice

Rashaad Penny

During the offseason, we'll be taking a close look at Philadelphia Eagles players of interest who are currently on the roster but we may not know a lot about just yet. Today we'll take a look at running back Rashaad Penny.

Previous player reviews

Olamide Zaccheaus | D'Andre Swift | Greedy Williams
Christian Elliss | Britain Covey

With the Seahawks' season basically in the toilet down the stretch in 2021 and few paying attention, Penny went from backup to starter and absolutely went off in Seattle's final five games:

Opponent Rush Yards YPC TD 
Week 14, at Texans 16 137 8.6 
Week 15, at Rams 11 39 3.6 
Week 16, Bears 17 135 7.9 
Week 17, Lions 25 170 6.8 
Week 18, at Cardinals 23 190 8.3 
TOTAL 92 671 7.3 

I cut up 32 of Penny's best runs in those games. The following represents more than a third of his carries during that span.

The following offseason, Penny was a free agent, but he signed back with the Seahawks on a one-year deal worth $5,750,000. He began the season as the starting running back, and basically picked up where he left off the previous season, rushing 57 times for 346 yards (6.1 YPC) and 2 TDs before he broke his tibia against the Saints.

Opponent Rush Yards YPC TD 
Week 1, Broncos 12 60 5.0 
Week 2, at 49ers 15 2.5 
Week 3, Falcons 14 66 4.7 
Week 4, at Lions 17 151 8.9 
Week 5, at Saints 54 6.8 
TOTAL 57 346 6.1 

Once again, the following represents a high percentage (about 1/4) of his runs in 2022: 

Add up Penny's last 10 starts, and he rushed for 149 times for 1017 yards (6.8 YPC), and 8 TDs. Within that grouping of games, it can be said with no hyperbole that he was a star player.

Penny's running style is a great fit for the Eagles' offense. He's a power back at 220 pounds, who runs with excellent energy. He has good vision, and his short, choppy steps allow him to follow his blocks as they develop down the field, while also giving him surprisingly good lateral elusiveness. Those quick, choppy steps allow him to run under control, making him a very effective bad weather back. File that away for December and January, should Penny still be up and running by then. 

In the videos above, you can also see his uncommon burst and acceleration for a 220-pound back. He combines that acceleration with patience/hesitation, while running in between the tackles, and once he once he gets into the open field he can run away from some defensive backs, much like, saaayyy, Derrick Henry, to give another example of a big back with good long speed.

Penny isn't likely to be much of a factor in the passing game, as he has just 27 career catches, and has never had 10 or more catches in any one season. He seems to catch the ball well enough on short throws, and could perhaps be used on some rare screens or misdirection plays, but he won't be lining up in the slot like Brian Westbrook.

So why was Penny available for a mere $1.35 million on a one-year deal? In my opinion, he damn well shouldn't have been, but the short answer is that he has had extreme misfortune throughout his first five years in the NFL, during which he missed 40 games with an assortment of injuries: 

• 2018: Missed two games with a knee injury.

• 2019: Missed three games early in the season with a hamstring injury.

• 2019: Torn ACL. Missed the final three games of the season.

• 2020: Missed the first 13 games of the regular season while recovering from his 2019 torn ACL. He returned for the final three regular season games, but missed the Seahawks' wild card round matchup against the Rams.

• 2021: Injured his calf in the Seahawks' win over the Colts Week 1. He missed the next five games.

• 2022: Broke his tibia Week 5 against the Saints, missed the rest of the season.


We recently published an early training camp look at the Eagles' locks, near-locks, bubble players, and longshots. Some were surprised that we called Penny a "near lock," as opposed to a lock. Every one of Penny's injuries listed above are leg injuries. They add up. I think we need to see that Penny still has his explosiveness, and that, you know, he doesn't get hurt, before we call him something close to a 100 percent lock to make the team.

And yet, if he can be the player that he was over his last 10 games, Penny can be an absolute beast in the Eagles' offense playing (a) behind the best offensive line in the NFL, (b) alongside a quarterback who demands respect as a runner and can occupy a defender on RPOs, and (c) in an offense with A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert, who can all make defenses pay if they choose to pack the box.

There is a wide range of outcomes for Penny in Philadelphia, and he will be a fun player to monitor both in camp and throughout the season. My best bet is that the Eagles will try to equally divvy up playing time among Penny, D'Andre Swift, and Kenny Gainwell, thus keeping their respective mileages low throughout the season and fresh for the playoffs, assuming the Eagles get there.

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