Seahawks need first-round pick Penny to play like one
The Seahawks have made great picks in later rounds, but I’m not so sure about their first-round pick from 2018. It’s time Rashaad Penny shows he belongs.
I’ve been a big supporter of Rashaad Penny since the Seahawks took him in the first round of 2018. As I noted after the draft, I expected Penny to give Chris Carson a real push for the starting job in Seattle. It wouldn’t be easy, but Penny’s standing as the most elusive back in the draft should have transitioned to the NFL. He’s been elusive, but only when it comes to playing time. It’s past time for him to raise his game and prove he belongs in the NFL.
I’ll admit, I drank the Kool-Aid on Penny, pitcher after pitcher. I liked his first season and chalked it up to tough competition from Carson. I loved that he was working hard this offseason. Penny was getting coaching from Marshall Faulk, working with a nutritionist, doing everything he could to improve on his rookie season. Again, it was a pretty solid campaign. While he didn’t unseat Carson, Penny did average 4.9 yards per carry and totaled just under 500 yards from scrimmage. That gave him a solid foundation to build on.
We’re seven games into 2019, and Penny has regressed badly. He’s already missed three games, and been mediocre when he was on the field. The game against the Steelers is the only time he’s averaged more than 3.0 yards per carry. He had some nice runs in that game and made a sweet catch for 30 yards versus the Rams. That’s great, but first-round picks are supposed to do that in almost every game. At this point, Penny is on pace for 228 yards rushing, 78 yards receiving, and two scores for the year.
I’d blame the coaches for only getting him on the field for two snaps last week, but it was probably a brilliant move. Penny hasn’t given the Seahawks any compelling reason to put him out there, other than to salvage something from a first-round pick. If he’d been a seventh-round selection like Carson, he’d probably be on the practice squad by now. C.J. Prosise, the man who has been injured more often than Mr. Glass, has practically passed him on the depth chart.
The calendar is flipping on the Seahawk’s season. The Falcons game is a great opportunity for the Hawks to get back on track and close the first half on a winning note. Rashaad Penny needs to do the same, and show he can help the Hawks get back into the playoffs. So far, he’s doing far less than Blitz to make that happen.