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Who can forget the glory days of league-rumbling beast quakes? Recently though, the Seattle Seahawks have struggled to regain their identity as a run-first team. Drafting running back Rashaad Penny with the number 27 overall pick is a clear statement that Seattle’s ready to change that.

Of course, some fans lamented Seattle didn’t choose an offensive lineman in the first round. There’s a bit more at stake on the offensive side of the ball though. The position of running back has been a revolving door since Marshawn Lynch retired in 2015. The Seahawks needed to take a gamble on the running back position in order to reinstate a ground-and-pound type offense that should serve as a new foundation.

Rashaad Penny Is The Seahawks’ Best Bet For Returning To A Formidable Run-First Offense

Running Through Changes

Lynch led the run game during Seattle’s Superbowl era. Hard running from Lynch and backup, Robert Turbin, complimented Pete Carroll’s run-first philosophy. The offensive production paired well with Seattle’s stout “Legion of Boom” defense.

During Lynch’s final injury-plagued year with the Seahawks, then-rookie running back Thomas Rawls picked up duties in the run game. He rightfully earned the nickname “Baby Beast” but suffered an ankle injury before the start of playoffs. From there, Rawls did his best to battle consistent setbacks but could never hold onto the starting position.

Seattle’s run game during the following seasons became forgettable. Christine Michael had a short surge in his second stint with the Seahawks. He was let go in the hopes that a healthy Rawls and the promising versatility of C.J. Prosise would pick up the slack. However, nothing panned out for Seattle’s run game. Consequently, Seattle’s offensive efficiency rating and playoff hopes dwindled.

Enter Rashaad Penny

Hailing from San Diego State, running back Rashaad Penny earned an NFL prospect grade of 5.85. Pending his performance at training camp, he will most likely be the starter in Seattle.

Quick on his feet, Penny’s best time in the 40-yard dash was 4.46 seconds. As some of his highlights show, he has a knack for out-running his opponents. Leading the nation with 2,248 rushing yards, it’s fortunate that Penny wasn’t selected sooner. He also shows good hands and is certainly a threat on special teams.

Though his speed is unquestionable, and he broke 91 tackles in his final season at SDSU, he will have his work cut out for him behind Seattle’s offensive line. The offensive line under recent-hire Mike Solari will need to execute the right blocks. With that, Penny can turn on the boosters and show how he turned 289 carries into 23 touchdowns during his senior year at SDSU.

Off the field, Penny seems to have a level head. This will further improve the team’s wholesome image that players such as quarterback Russell Wilson have been spearheading.

Next season for the Seahawks is a huge question mark. With all the free agents and coaching staff changes made in the offseason, a successful standing is questionable. One thing is for certain, though. Fifth-placed Heisman trophy nominee Rashaad Penny is Seattle’s best bet to get an effective running game back in the Emerald City.

Eric Godoy

Author Eric Godoy

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Sports Al Dente 2018