Seattle was one of several teams in need of running back help coming into Thursday night's NFL Draft, and when the Seahawks were on the clock at No. 27 overall, only Saquon Barkley was off the board. So with Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones II, Sony Michel and Nick Chubb available, the Seahawks made a surprise move and drafted Rashaad Penny from San Diego State.
Now, this isn't to disrespect Penny, who could emerge as one of the best running backs in this draft. But he wasn't expected to be selected in the first round, and he might have even been a questionable second-round pick.
So the hope would be the Seahawks know something about Penny that many of the draft analysts did not prior to Thursday. And we hope they use Penny the right way in 2018.
Seattle has been searching for a running back since Marshawn Lynch left the team following the 2016 season. The Seahawks tried to revive Eddie Lacy's career last season, which failed. They thought 2017 rookie Chris Carson was the answer, but he suffered a broken leg in Week 4 and missed the rest of the year.
C.J. Prosise has been a bust for the past two years, and Thomas Rawls never looked the same since his broken ankle in 2015. J.D. McKissic was a converted receiver, and Mike Davis was a guy added off the scrap heap from San Francisco.
Penny will hopefully solve Seattle's running back woes, and he was a star in college. In 2017, Penny had 289 carries for 2,248 yards (7.8-yards per carry) and 23 touchdowns and 19 catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns. In 2016, Penny had 136 carries for 1,018 yards (7.5-yards per carry) and 11 touchdowns and 15 catches for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
He's not going to average over 7.0-yards per carry in the NFL, especially behind Seattle's offensive line, but he could gain about 1,100 total yards and score seven touchdowns. He will likely need to prove himself in the passing game, but Penny should easily start right away.
Carson, who is expected to be healthy for training camp, could pose a challenge. And Prosise or McKissic could be a factor on passing downs. But Seattle didn't make this move to draft Penny to keep him on the bench.
Penny should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy running back in re-draft leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6 in standard formats and Round 7 or later in PPR. He's worth about $5-$8 in auction formats.
In dynasty leagues, Penny is worth taking toward the end of Round 1 or beginning of Round 2 in rookie-only drafts, but we'll see where the other running backs are selected on Friday and Saturday to ultimately determine Penny's value. The Seahawks surprised us by drafting Penny in the first round, and hopefully his production will be a pleasant surprise in 2018.